Griffin Leonard and Brett Opperman both scored for the Flyers in a losing cause as Winkler dropped a 4-2 decision to the Portage Terriers on the road. Playing their fifth game in eight days, the Flyers put out a good effort but didn’t get the bounces as they split their six game regular season series against the defending MJHL champions.
Looking to rebound after a though loss in Steinbach on Wednesday night, the Flyers were back on the bus looking for a better effort in Portage. The Flyers beat the Terriers this past Sunday, and were off to a good start on Friday night as Griffin Leonard slid one past Portage netminder Lasse Petersen just 2:24 into the game. Brody Moffatt and Cole Kirkup assisted on Leonard’s fourth of the season and third in his last six games.
The Terriers tied the game with 2:23 left in the second period on a goal by Ty Barnstable and just over a minute later, Ryan Sokoloski bounced one in off a Winkler defender to give the home side a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Troy Martyniuk had a solid 40 minutes in goal for Winkler as the Flyers trailed by one after two periods despite being outshot 24-6.
Early in the third period, Brody Moffatt and Mitch Dyck assisted on Brett Opperman’s 10th goal of the season to pull Winkler even 2-2. However, the bounces continued to go the Terriers way as they regained the lead just a few minutes later when the puck took a bad bounce behind the Winkler net and onto the stick of Duncan Pierce who moved Portage back in front 3-2.
The Terriers picked up an insurance marker with just under five minutes left on a power-play goal by James McIsaac, and despite a late push by Winkler with the extra attacker on the ice, the Flyers would be forced to settle for the 4-2 loss.
Troy Martyniuk took the loss in goal, stopping 29 of the 33 shots he faced as the Flyers were outshot 33-15 overall. Winkler went 0-for-2 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (28-18-0) will now enjoy a much needed week off after playing five games in a span of eight days. Winkler’s next game is Friday, February 2nd when they begin a three game weekend road trip in Swan Valley. The Flyers will also play OCN and Waywayseecappo next weekend.
Winkler did receive some help on the out of town scoreboard as Virden, OCN and Selkirk all lost on Friday night, allowing Winkler to hold on to fourth place in the MJHL Standings.
NOTE: Flyers’ Captain Nolan McGuire left the game early in the second period after taking an open ice body check. He will be re-evaluated in the coming days.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F DUNCAN PIERCE (PORTAGE)
2ND STAR – F RYAN SOKOLOSKI (PORTAGE)
3RD STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)