The Winkler Flyers fought through a slow start in a 5-4 come from behind victory over the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday night, winning their third in a row. Scott Gall scored the game winner with 24 seconds left in regulation to help the Orange and Black win their 29th game of the season.
With nearly a week off after winning a pair of games last weekend, the Flyers welcomed the Swan Valley Stampeders to the Winkler Rec Complex for the final game of their four game homestand. This was the fourth of six meetings against the Stamps, with Winkler winning the first three.
It was a rough start for the Flyers who quickly found themselves down 2-0 just 4:40 into the game. Winkler got one of those back just over two minutes later. After taking the pass from Nathan Karlowsky, Jordy Williamson led Nico Labossiere on a two on one into the Stampeder zone. After Labossiere saw his shot stopped by goaltender Zach De Graves, Williamson potted the rebound to cut Swan Valley’s lead to 2-1 with his 12th of the year.
Still trailing by a goal in the second period, Scott Gall carried the puck around the Stamps’ net on the power-play and picked the top corner, tying the game 2-2. Zak Hicks and Connor Hamonic assisted on Gall’s 18th of the season.
However, the visitors took the lead back with a power-play goal of their own with 3:02 left on the clock and took that 3-2 lead into the third period.
The Stampeders extended their lead to 4-2 eight and a half minutes into the final period and the Flyers deficit was back up to two goals for the second time in the game. Down by two with just over half a period left to play, the Flyers went to work.
The Flyers got back to within one with 10:40 left when Zak Hicks and Scott Gall assisted on Kayden Jarvis’ eighth of the year on the power-play. Winkler took the momentum from there and tied the game with just over eight minutes left in the game. At the 11:53 mark of the period, Tristan Keck wired home his team leading 28th of the year to pull Winkler even. Connor Hamonic and Nolan McGuire assisted.
With just over two minutes left, Winkler went back on the power-play with a chance to win the game in regulation. After a number of consistent shifts of steady pressure, Scott Gall circled the puck back down the left wing side and sent a perfectly placed wrist shot over the shoulder of De Graves to give the Flyers their first lead of the game with just 24 seconds left in regulation.
Now leading by a score of 5-4, the Flyers held on for the final few seconds to pick up their third straight victory. The win improved the Flyers record to 29-10-3 overall, and 19-3-2 at home.
Nathan Warren (5-3-1) made 28 stops in the win as the Flyers outshot the Stampeders 46-32, 20-8 in the third period alone. Winkler went 3-for-6 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers will hit the road on Sunday, January 24th to face the Portage Terriers in the first of five straight games on the road. You can listen to Sunday’s game live from the PCU Centre in Portage on Country 88.9fm and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:25pm. Winkler is 2-3 against the Terriers this season, losing their last two meetings by identical 2-1 scores.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1st Star – F Scott Gall (Winkler)
2nd Star – D Connor Hamonic (Winkler)
3rd Star – G Zach De Graves (Swan Valley)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
F Scott Gall