It was a game of missed opportunities for the Flyers in a 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Selkirk Steelers on Sunday night. Ezra Hall scored the game winner for the Steelers in the 10th round of the shootout to end the Flyers winning streak at five games.
Entering play having won 13 of their last 15 games, the Flyers looked to keep rolling after scoring 30 goals during the five game winning streak. The Steelers, who had only one victory in their last seven games had allowed 30 goals in their last five outings.
The Flyers played tremendously well in the first period and took a 1-0 lead just 1:59 into the game. It was Coltyn Bates and Nolan McGuire assisting on Jeff Michiels’ 16th goal of the year. Winkler continued to generate a large number of scoring chances in the opening period, but were not able to get any more past Selkirk netminder Hayden Dola.
Despite being heavily outshot, the Steelers would tie the game with 4:13 left in the period to skate into the first intermission tied 1-1. It was a frustrating period for the Flyers who failed to capitalize on their chances, and were forced to head into the second period tied despite leading 24-6 on the shot clock.
With just under six minutes left in the second period, the duo of Tristan Keck and Cam Whyte raced into the Steelers’ zone on a 2-on-1. Carrying the puck down the left wing side, Whyte slide it over to the right wing for Keck who scored his 34th of the season and fourth in his last three games to put Winkler ahead 2-1. That would be the only goal of the second period with Winkler firing 40 shots on goal through 40 minutes but failed to add to their lead.
Hayden Dola continued to frustrate the Flyers shooters in the third period and his team rewarded him for it with 6:59 left in regulation when the Steelers tied the game 2-2 with a breakaway goal. The Flyers fired another dozen shots on goal in the third period but were headed to overtime tied a two goals each.
After overtime solved nothing, the Flyers and Steelers were headed to a shootout for the second time in their last three meetings. Both teams scored twice in the first three rounds of the competition and Nathan Warren and Hayden Dola shut the door all the way until the end of round 10 when Ezra Hall got past Warren’s poke check and won the game for Selkirk.
Warren had another strong game for the Flyers making 30 saves. The Flyers outshot Selkirk 53-32 overall. Winkler was 0-for-2 on the power-play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (39-12-4) will travel to Winnipeg to face the Blues in their next game on Tuesday, February 23rd. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 6:55pm. Puck drop at the MTS Iceplex is 7pm. Winkler has already clinched at least third place in the MJHL standings are trail the second place Steinbach Pistons by four points with five regular season games left.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – G Hayden Dola (Selkirk)
2nd Star – F Jeff Michiels (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Ezra Hall (Selkirk)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
F Kayden Jarvis