The Winkler Flyers lost a hard fought 3-2 decision to the visiting Portage Terriers on Friday night, losing for just the second time in regulation at home this season. The Terriers scored two of their three goals on the power-play to win the battle of the top two teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
This was the second meeting of the year between the two top clubs, with the Flyers beating the Terriers in Portage in the middle of November in their first meeting. Friday’s game was just as entertaing.
After a scoreless first period, the Terriers started the second on the man advantage and Brad Bowles gave Portage a 1-0 lead just 14 seconds into the frame. Winkler responded with a power-play goal of their own with just over eight minutes left in the period. After taking the pass from Scott Gall, Jordan Wall fired a shot on net that bounced off of goaltender Nathan Park and right on the stick of Thomas Mansbridge who scored his seventh of the season, tying the game 1-1.
With 4:48 left in the period, Brad Bowles scored his second of the game to put the visitors in front 2-1 through two periods.
The Flyers pulled even again early in the third when Kayden Jarvis scored his second to tie the game 2-2. Lawson McDonald drew the lone assist. However, Portage went back in front, 6:22 into the third when Brett Orr beat Connor Slipp from the point for the Terriers second power-play goal of the night.
Winkler had their chances to tie the game for a third time, including a five minute power-play just past the midway point of the period, but it was not meant to be.
Connor Slipp suffered his first loss of the season making 26 saves, seeing his record fall to 11-1. Winkler outshot Portage 29-24 overall. Winkler went 1-for-2 on the power-play and 1-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
It was a solid game by both teams with end to end chances, good goaltender and a strong physical component.
The second place Flyers (21-5-2) will travel to Winnipeg to play the Blues (14-10-5) on Sunday, December 6th in their next game. Winkler is 2-0 against Winnipeg this season. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:25pm. Winkler trails Portage for first place by seven points with two games in hand.
NOTE: Flyers D Lawson McDonald left the game after being checked hard into the boards in the third period. He did not suffer any serious injury as a result. He will now travel to Leduc, Alberta to take part in the Canada West tryout for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge taking place December 13-19 in Ontario. He will miss at least one game while in Leduc. If he makes Canada West, he will return to the club following the Christmas Break.
The Flyers also donated their gate revenue and 50-50 proceeds to the Braden Pettinger Trust on Friday night. The total donation will be announced in the coming days. The Flyers thank you for your support.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Brad Bowles (Portage)
2nd Star – F Kayden Jarvis (Winkler)
3rd Star – D Brett Orr (Portage)