The line of Ian Tookenay, Sulivan Shortreed and Jayden McCarthy recorded three points each as the Winkler Flyers got past the visiting Neepawa Natives 5-3 on Friday night. Playing the Natives for the sixth and final time this season, the Orange and Black put the game away with three goals in the third period while winning for the 12th time in their last 13 home games.
Playing their first game since dropping a 5-1 decision to the Kings in Dauphin on Tuesday night, the Flyers welcomed the Natives to the Winkler Rec Complex for the last time this season. The Flyers had managed to pick up the win in all five previous meetings and were playing a Neepawa club fresh off an overtime win against the first place Steinbach Pistons.
The Flyers were great out of the gate and took an early lead on a great perfect wrist shot from leading scorer Jayden McCarthy. Sulivan Shortreed picked up the lone assist on McCarthy’s 28th goal of the season. After Neepawa tied the game 1-1 early in the second, Jayden McCarthy and Ian Tookenay then assisted on Sulivan Shortreed’s 28th of the year to move Winkler back in front 2-1. However, that lead was short lived as the Natives tied the game again a few minutes later and the game went into the second intermission all tied up at two.
Winkler put the game away in the third period, adding three more goals while outshooting Neepawa 21-4 in the final period alone. With just over six minutes gone in the period, Kaeden Tenkoppel and Eric Fawkes assisted on Nathan Poolman’s one timer on the power-play and the Flyers were back in front 3-2. That goal increased Poolman’s point streak to five games, and increased Fawkes’ and Tenkoppel’s to three.
Then with 8:22 left on the clock, Ian Tookenay rushed the puck up the right wing wall, cut underneath the Neepawa defender and beat goaltender Michael Davis short side to give Winkler a two goal lead. Linemates Sulivan Shortreed and Jayden McCarthy assisted on Tookenay’s 14th of the year.
Neepawa managed to get one of their own during a delayed Winkler penalty just over a minute later to cut the Flyers lead to 4-3. With less than two minutes to play in regulation, and Neepawa’s goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, Ian Tookenay scored his second of the game to make the final 5-3 for the home side.
Dorrin Luding earned his 23rd win of the season between the pipes for Winkler as the Flyers outshot the Natives 46-22. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 6-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (34-12-5) remain in second place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings, seven points back of the first place Steinbach Pistons and only one point ahead of the third place Portage Terriers. The Flyers and Terriers will meet up in a big game Saturday night in Portage. Puck drop at Stride Place is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm. You can also video stream the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com