The Winkler Flyers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Dauphin Kings in the finale of their three game road trip on Sunday night. Despite firing 45 shots on goal, the Flyers lacked the finish around the net, seeing their three game winning streak come to an end.
After starting the trip with wins in OCN and Swan Valley on Friday and Saturday, the Flyers traveled to Credit Union Place in Dauphin for their third meeting of the year against the Kings. Winkler had won the first two games by a combined score of 7-1, and were playing a Kings squad that had lost their last four games.
Winkler got the early jump on their opponent with numerous chances in the opening few minutes. But just over eight minutes into the game, Landon Plett scored for Dauphin on a 2-on-1 to put the home side on the board first. Outshooting Dauphin 18-12 through 20 minutes, the Flyers trailed 1-0 heading into the second.
The Kings added to their lead, three minutes into the second when Graeme Hore beat netminder Nathan Warren during a goal mouth scramble and the home team had a 2-0 advantage.
The Flyers continued to get their chances, but the play of Dauphin goalie Brandon Holtby began to frustrate the Flyers’ shooters who could not beat him through two periods, despite getting 36 shots on goal.
Winkler began the third period on the power-play and finally broke the goose egg. Just over a minute into the frame, Zak Hicks stepped into a shot, finding the back of the net and cutting the Kings lead to 2-1. Cam Whyte assisted on Hicks’ ninth of the season. Unfortunately for Winkler, Aaron Kellogg scored Dauphin’s third goal just three minutes later.
Trailing again by two goals with 14 minutes to play, the Flyers got another one on a pretty goal by Thomas Mansbridge, who picked the far side of the net from the right wing for his eighth goal of the year. Lawson McDonald and Jordan Williamson assisted on the goal which cut Dauphin’s lead down to 3-2.
For the rest of the period, Holtby shut the door as the Flyers went in search of the equalizer. With the Flyers’ goaltender on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, Winkler came very close to tying the game, but Kings forward Daniel Chartrand would find the open Flyers’ net with just one second left on the clock to give the Kings the 4-2 win, handing the Flyers just their sixth regulation loss in 32 games.
Nathan Warren (2-1) took the loss in goal for Winkler as the Flyers outshot Dauphin 45-35. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill. The loss snaps the Flyers three game winning streak, and six game winning streak on the road.
The Flyers (24-6-2), who are tied with the Steinbach Pistons for second place in the MJHL Standings will host the first place Portage Terriers (28-5-1) on Tuesday, December 15th (7:30pm) in their third meeting of the year against the Terriers. Winkler is 1-1 against Portage this season. Tuesday’s game is also the Flyers second last home game before the Christmas Break. Winkler continues to have one game in hand on Steinbach and two games in hand on Portage.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – G Brandon Holtby (Dauphin)
2nd Star – F Landon Plett (Dauphin)
3rd Star – D Connor Hamonic (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
D – Lawson McDonald