The Winkler Flyers suffered a setback on Friday night, falling 4-3 in overtime to the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders. The Stamps scored three of their four goals on the power-play, including the game tying goal late in regulation and the game winning goal in the opening minute of the extra frame.
Playing the second game of their three game homestand, the Flyers welcomed the Stampeders for their last of six regular season meetings. The second place Flyers were looking for their sixth win against Swan Valley, who was looking to hang on to the final playoff spot in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
It was a great start for the Flyers when just over a minute into the game, Braden Billaney scooped in his fifth goal in his last three games to give Winkler an early 1-0 lead on the power-play. Gino Lucia and Tanner Lewis assists on Billaney’s 18th of the year.
Winkler doubled their lead to 2-0 when Tyler Jubenvill scored a nice power-play goal, 8:45 into the second. Gino Lucia and Lawson McDonald assisted. It was Lucia’s 8th point in his last four games. Despite having a healthy lead on the shot clock, the Flyers failed to put any real distance between themselves and the Stampeders on the scoreboard as the visitors remained a bounce or two away from getting right back into the game.
Swan Valley would get one of those bounces with three minutes left in the period when defenseman Braden Groot scored on the power-play to cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1. Outshooting Swan 29-11 after 40 minutes, the Flyers took their one goal lead into the third.
Entering play tied with Dauphin for the eighth and final playoff spot, the Stampeders seemed to pick up their game in the third period with a big two points on the line for both sides. Just before the four minute mark of the third, a tipped shot sailed past Winkler starter Troy Martyniuk and the game was tied 2-2.
The Flyers took the lead back after a series of steady pressure in the Stampeders zone as Coltyn Bates tapped in a nice pass from Nathan Peabody and the Flyers had a 3-2 advantage with 7:43 left on the clock. Matt Christian also assisted on Bates’ 12th of the year. That goal relieved some of the pressure for the Flyers, but another ill-timed penalty late in regulation would send Swan Valley back to the man advantage.
And with 1:48 left in the third period, the Stampeders would score their second power-play goal of the game to send the game into overtime tied 3-3. With both teams already guaranteed of a single point, the 3-on-3 overtime started with another penalty coming up to Winkler. It didn’t take the Stampeders long to score their third power-play goal, when former Flyer Jason Cohan beat Martyniuk over the right shoulder to give the Stampeders the extra point and the 4-3 win.
Troy Martyniuk (6-1-1) made 19 saves in the game as the Flyers outshot Swan Valley 37-23. Winkler went 2-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-5 on the penalty-kill. Swan Valley netminder Brett Evans really kept his team in the game in the first two periods and was the best player on the ice for the Stampeders.
The Flyers (34-12-3) will get right back at it on Saturday night (February 4th) when they host the Dauphin Kings (14-30-5). The Flyers are 5-0 against Dauphin this season. The Kings are coming off a 5-3 loss in Winnipeg on Friday night. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar. You can stream the game live on www.hockeytv.com
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G BRETT EVANS (SWAN VALLEY)
2ND STAR – F GINO LUCIA (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F JASON COHAN (SWAN VALLEY)