The Orange and Black got off to a slow start against Portage, dropping a 5-3 decision to the first place Terriers on Tuesday night. After giving up three goals in the first period, the Flyers got their game together in the second only to come up just short in the end, losing back to back games for the first time all season.
On the heals of their first regulation loss at home on Sunday, the Flyers tried to get things pointed in the right direction against this season’s RBC Cup hosts. The last time these two clubs met on October 22nd, the Flyers handed the Terriers their first loss of the season.
The Flyers gave the Terriers an early power-play and it cost them, as Portage took a 1-0 lead just 1:33 into the game. Garick Gray put the visitors ahead 2-0 near the midway point of the period, and former Flyer Tanner Jago scored from the blueline with 2:20 to play before intermission giving the Terriers a 3-0 first period lead.
Winkler had more jump in the second and started to chop away at the Terriers lead in the first few minutes. Just 1:49 into the period, Scott Gall finished off a nice two on one pass, cutting Portage’s lead to 3-1. Cam Whyte and Patrice Wren drew the assists.
Portage got that one back when Gray scored his second of the game, midway through the second giving the Terriers a 4-1 lead. Despite trailing by three goals, the Flyers were playing much better.
The Flyers’ comeback attempt took a bit of a hit when Tyler Jeanson scored the Terriers fifth goal just 22 seconds into the third. Winkler pressed on and just over a minute later, Bryce Enns scored a breakaway goal to make the score 5-2. Zak Hicks assisted on Enns’ third of the season.
The third period was the Flyers’ best as Winkler had many chances to cut into the Terriers lead, but failed to do so until the final seconds of the period. That’s when Cam Whyte assisted on Scott Gall’s second of the game and eighth of the season with just five seconds to play to make the final 5-3 for the visitors.
Dasan Sydora (9-2-1) took the loss in goal for Winkler making 26 saves. It was Sydora’ first regulation loss since September 20th in Steinbach. The Flyers outshot Portage 36-31, 16-7 alone in the third period. Winkler went 0-for-6 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The second place Flyers (13-5-4) will travel to Neepawa (6-11-1) on Friday night for their first meeting of the season against the Natives. Winkler beat Neepawa twice during the preseason. You can catch Friday’s game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 7:25pm.