The Winkler Flyers four game winning streak came to an end with a 5-3 loss to the Steelers in Selkirk on Tuesday night. Leading by a goal after two periods, the Flyers gave up three third period goals and suffered just their fourth regulation loss in 17 regular season games.
Riding a four game winning streak, in which the Flyers had outscored their opponents 25-5, and outshot them 162-99, the Flyers made their way to the Selkirk Recreation Complex for their first meeting of the year against the Steelers. Selkirk was also looking to get their record back to .500 and snap a two game losing skid.
Sixteen year old AP goaltender Aaron Brunn was pressed into action for Winkler due to an equipment issue with Flyers starter Connor Slipp, and was forced to make his Manitoba Junior Hockey League debut on very short notice. The current netminder for the Pembina Valley Hawks looked very poised in his debut.
Selkirk drew first blood just past the seven minute mark of the game when Dale Goodbrandson beat Brunn on a wrap-around. Winkler drew even thanks to Coltyn Bates’ third goal of the season with 6:24 remaining in the period. Nico Labossiere and Braden Billaney assisted.
The Steelers’ Conner Barley put the home side back in front before the end of the period and the Flyers trailed 2-1 heading into the break.
Winkler carried the play in the second and took the lead with a pair of goals. Jeff Michiels and Jordan Wall assisted on Cam Whyte’s 10th at the 8:25 mark, tying the game 2-2. Nico Labossiere then scored on a one-timer from the slot with 6:01 left in the period to push Winkler in front 3-2. Braden Billaney and Tyler Jubenvill assisted on Labossiere’s second goal of the year.
Outshooting the Steelers 30-22 through 40 minutes and leading by a goal, the Flyers were 20 minutes away from their fifth straight win.
However, the Steelers tied the game just over three and a half minutes into the third and went ahead 4-3 with 5:09 left in regulation. The Steelers would add an empty net goal in the final minute to skate away with the 5-3 win.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Flyers, who had plenty of chances to score but failed to pull the trigger. Aaron Brunn played well in his Flyers’ debut, including some great saves on two breakaways in the first and third periods. He made 28 saves on the 32 shots he faced as the Flyers outshot Selkirk 37-33 overall. Winkler went 0-for-8 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
Winkler (12-4-1) will travel to Steinbach on Saturday night for their final regular season trip to the TG Smith Centre. The broadcast can be heard live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 7:25pm. The Flyers are 1-2-1 against the Pistons this season.
NOTE: Flyers forward Scott Gall left Tuesday’s game in the first period with an injury and did not return. He will be re-evaluated in the coming days. The 19 year old Mordan native was most recently named the MJHL’s Player of the Week and has recorded 21 points (10 goals – 11 assists) in 21 games played.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Nico Labossiere – Winkler
2nd Star – F Cole McCartan – Selkirk
3rd Star – G Aaron Brunn – Winkler
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Player
F Jeff Michiels