Terriers defenseman Jordan Thomson scored with 2:38 left in regulation as the Portage Terriers doubled up the Winkler Flyers 4-2 in their second last game before the MJHL Christmas break. Tanner Lewis and Brayden Cullum scored for the Flyers who definitely played good enough to win, only to see their five game winning streak come to an end.
Traveling to Portage for the road portion of a weekend home and home series against the Terriers, the Flyers were looking for their sixth straight win away from home. Victory in the first four meetings between the Flyers and Terriers went to the home team, so Winkler was trying to change that trend on Saturday night.
The game was entertaining from start to finish, and despite the unfavorable outcome, the Flyers played a pretty solid road game. The Terriers opened the scoring with their league best ninth short-handed goal just over seven minutes into the game. Winkler would get that one back when Brayden Cullum scored with 4:34 left in the period to tie the game 1-1. Lawson McDonald and Brett Opperman assisted on Cullum’s sixth of the season.
Despite having a 5-1 record in their last six games, the Flyers power-play had struggled in recent weeks, failing to produce a single goal over their last six outings. Winkler would take the lead early in the second period, with a goal on the power-play. After setting up in the Terriers’ end, the puck found Tanner Lewis in the crease and he buried it for his third as a Flyer and fifth of the year.
Even though the Terriers tied the game 2-2 in the middle period, the Flyers continued to play well and continued to outshoot their opponent 20-16 through 40 minutes.
The Flyers carried the play for the most part in the third period and fired 14 more shots on goal in the final 20 minutes. A number of Winkler shooters had some great opportunities to regain the lead in the final frame, but the finish just wasn’t there. Just after a number of close calls at the other end of the ice, Portage defenseman Jordan Thomson made a slick move at the Winkler blueline and beat Cole Weaver for the game winning goal with just 2:38 left in the game.
Portage tacked on another one into the empty Flyers’ net to make the final 4-2. The loss ends the Flyers winning streak at five games, and is their first loss on the road in nearly a month. Cole Weaver made 21 saves on 24 shots as the Flyers outshot Portage 34-25. Winkler went 1-for-6 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (24-10-0) will host the Portage Terriers (23-9-0) on Sunday night in the rematch of Saturday’s game at the PCU Centre. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game. Sunday’s game is the only Flyers’ home game in the month of December. You can also watch the live video stream on www.hockeytv.com
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – D JORDAN THOMSON (PORTAGE)
2ND STAR – D LAYNE TODER (PORTAGE)
3RD STAR – D CONNOR HAMONIC (WINKLER)