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MJHL QUARTER FINAL SERIES PREVIEW – FLYERS VS OIL CAPITALS – MARCH 3

For the third time in five years, the Winkler Flyers will take on the Virden Oil Capitals in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Playoffs. This time, the third place Flyers will play the sixth place Oil Capitals in one of four, best of seven MJHL Quarter Final Series’ beginning with Game One, Friday night in Winkler.

 

If their six game regular season series was any indication, this playoff round should prove to be a tight, high scoring affair. During the 2019-2020 regular season, the Flyers had two wins, two regulation losses and two shootout loss against the Oil Capitals with five of the six meetings being decided by a single goal. Winkler’s success against the Oil Capitals this season came on the road as they went 2-0-1 in their games played at Tundra Oil & Gas Place in Virden, compared to a 0-2-1 record in their three games played at the Winkler Recreation Complex. The Flyers have lost just three games at home since the start of December (18 total games), with two of those three losses coming against the Oil Capitals.

 

 

The Oil Capitals and Flyers, who were second and third in the MJHL in goal scoring respectfully, scored a combined 49 goals against eachother in their six regular season contests. Of the top eight goal scorers in the MJHL this season, the Flyers and Oil Caps occupy four of those top eight spots (Virden – Hunter Cloutier (29), Kolton Kanaski (29) | Winkler – Sulivan Shortreed (29), Jayden McCarthy (28)).

 

 

Winkler had the edge in the goals against department throughout the season, allowing the third fewest goals in the MJHL (185), while Virden allowed the fifth most (218). Winkler goaltender Dorrin Luding will also be key to stopping the Oil Caps’ offensive attack. In his last three starts of the regular season, he picked up three wins, two shutouts and allowed just one goal combined in those three starts. He finished the regular season second in wins (27) and second in minutes played (2543). He also started all six games against Virden this season.

 

 

As is always the case in playoff hockey, Special Teams will be key in this series. The Flyers sported a 19% Power-Play throughout the regular season which was eighth best in the MJHL. Against Virden, their Power-Play was successful on just three of their 24 opportunities (12.5%), compared to Virden’s Power-Play which was efficient 35% of the time against Winkler (7-for-20). The Flyers had the second fewest Power-Play opportunities this season, with Virden giving up the second most Power-Play chances of all 11 teams in the MJHL. The Flyers did lead the MJHL in one Special Teams category this season and that was Short-Handed goals. They finished the regular season with 11 of them with the Oil Capitals right behind in that category with eight.

 

 

If the Flyers are to be successful in this series, scoring first and finding a way to win the Special Teams battle will be key. Against Virden this year, the Flyers gave up the first goal of the game four times but did outshoot them in four of the six meetings. Winkler’s record this season when scoring first was 23-4-2, they were 27-6-3 when they outshot their opponent and 28-3-2 when they scored at least one goal on the Power-Play.

 

 

Success in the playoffs can always come down to a number of factors. Your best players need to be your best players, solid defensive play and goaltending is a must and special teams need to be there when you need them the most. But often times there is that unsung hero who comes out of nowhere and out-performs what may have been expected of them during the regular season. Which ever team can check more of those boxes than their opponent, and get a little bit of a boost from their passionate fan bases should get the upper hand in the series, and punch their tickets to the second round.

 

 

MJHL Quarter Final Series Schedule:

 

GAME 1: @ WINKLER, FRIDAY – MARCH 6, 7:30PM

GAME 2: @ VIRDEN, SUNDAY – MARCH 8, 7:30PM

GAME 3: @ WINKLER, TUESDAY – MARCH 10, 7:30PM

GAME 4: @ VIRDEN, THURSDAY – MARCH 12, 7:30PM

GAME 5: @ WINKLER, SATURDAY – MARCH 14, 7:30PM *IF NEC.

GAME 6: @ VIRDEN, MONDAY – MARCH 16, 7:30PM *IF NEC.

GAME 7: @ WINKLER, TUESDAY – MARCH 17, 7:30PM *IF NEC.

 

*All games can be heard live on the radio on your Voice of the Flyers – Country 88.9FM or online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com. You can also video stream all games with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com.

 

PLAYOFF TICKET PRICES:

ADULT (19+): $15

STUDENT (13-18): $10

CHILD (6-12): $5

CHILDREN 5 AND UNDER FREE

 

*Advance tickets can be purchased at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or Petro-Canada Gas Bar for $1 less than gate price.

 

 

There will be a special pregame tailgate party prior to Game One on Friday night at the Winkler Rec Complex. The first 700 fans through the door will receive a Winkler Flyers 2020 Playoff Rally Towel from Quality Inn, CK’s Lounge, Prairie Gold Transport, Kroeker Farms – Potato Store, Meridian, Harval Homes, Ed Penner Construction, Sun Valley Tire, Access Credit Union and Friesen Insurance Brokers. With the purchase of a game ticket you will also receive a Free Hot Dog and Bag of Chips courtesy of Winkler Meats and Old Dutch.

 

 

SIX GAME REGULAR SEASON SERIES RECAP:

 

 

GAME ONE (Oct 20 @ Virden) FLYERS 4 OIL CAPITALS 3 / SHOTS 40-34 FLYERS / PP 1/2 PK 1/2

 

Playing their third game in three days, the Winkler Flyers got off to a great start as Trent Sambrook and Jaden Townsend both scored in the first 16 minutes of the game to give Winkler a 2-0 lead. The Oil Caps got one of their own before intermission to cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1. Bryce Krauter then scored for the Flyers early in the second before the Oil Caps struck on the PP to cut Winkler’s lead to 3-2 before intermission. Mateo Albinati restored the Flyers two goal cushion early in the third and the Flyers had a 4-2 lead. Virden then pulled the goalie late and pulled to within one again but that’s as close as they would get, and the Flyers would hang on for the 4-3 win.

 

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – RILEY WALLACE

 

GAME TWO (Oct 27 in Winkler) OIL CAPS 8 FLYERS 7 (SO) / SHOTS 43-25 FLYERS / PP 1/8 PK 0/2

It was a crazy night at the Winkler Rec Complex as the Oil Caps raced out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period. However, between the 12:23 mark and the 16:43 mark of the second period, the Flyers scored four times with Trent Sambrook, Ian Tookenay (x2) and Jaden Townsend all helping to tie the game before the second intermission. However, the Oil Caps found the back of the net three more times in the first four minutes of the third and Winkler was down 7-4 with 15 minutes to play. After already erasing a four goal deficit, a three goal deficit would be no problem as Jaden Townsend completed the comeback with a pair of goals and Bryce Krauter mixed one in as well and the Flyers had tied the game 7-7 before the end of regulation. Unfortunately for Winkler, the Oil Caps would get the job done in the shootout to pick up the 8-7 victory.

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – RILEY WALLACE

GAME THREE (Dec 6 in Winkler) OIL CAPS 4 FLYERS 3 / SHOTS 42-39 FLYERS / PP 0/4 PK 3/5

After Virden took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, Everett Bestland and Carson Pawlenchuk scored for Winkler in the second to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Oil Caps struck for three straight goals including two on the PP to start the third before Jayden McCarthy scored with five minutes left to cut Virden’s lead to 4-3. Despite pulling the goalie at the end and pouring 42 shots on goal the Flyers would come up one goal short.

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – ETHAN PETERSON

GAME FOUR (Jan 10 in Virden) OIL CAPS 2 FLYERS 1 SO / SHOTS 34-25 FLYERS / PP 0/6 PK 3/3

In a game featuring two of the best offensive teams in the MJHL, it was a rare defensive battle from start to finish. The Oil Caps opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game. Jayden McCarthy scored for Winkler just a few minutes later and the game was tied 1-1. It stayed 1-1 for the rest of regulation and OT and a shootout would be required with both teams putting their six game winning streaks on the line. The Oil Caps would get the extra point in the seven round shootout and win the game 2-1.

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – ETHAN PETERSON

GAME FIVE (Jan 16 in Virden) FLYERS 5 OIL CAPS 4 / SHOTS 25-25 / PP 1/3 PK 4/5

It was a wild opening period which saw five goals scored in the final six minutes of the opening frame. First, Ian Tookenay and Garrett Szeremley scored less that two minutes apart before the Oil Caps scored to cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1. Then with two minutes left in the period, Garrett Szeremley scored again and Griffin Leonard added one as well and the Flyers led 4-1 heading into the second. Virden scored twice in the second and Winkler’s lead was cut to 4-3. Garrett Szeremley then scored his hat-trick goal early in the third period to give Winkler a 5-3 lead. That would prove to be the game winner as the Oil Capitals scored again with seven and a half minutes left in regulation and The Flyers’ lead was cut to one goal. Winkler would hang on for the 5-4 win.

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – KYLE KOZMA

GAME SIX (Jan 26 in Winkler) OIL CAPS 5 FLYERS 3 / SHOTS 34-33 OIL CAPITALS / PP 0/1 PK 2/3

The Oil Capitals scored the only goal of the first period and Winkler trailed 1-0 after one. Everett Bestland tied the game early in the second, but Virden took back the lead later in the middle frame. The two teams swapped goals in the final moments of the period as Jayden McCarthy and Jaden Townsend scored around another Virden goal and the game was tied 3-3 after 40 minutes. Despite outshoot their opponents in the final period, the Flyers gave up two more goals in the third and Virden would win the game 5-3.

GOALIES: WINKLER – DORRIN LUDING / VIRDEN – KYLE KOZMA

 

GO FLYERS GO