Ben Dalke scored the game winner, 3:27 into overtime as the Virden Oil Capitals beat the Winkler Flyers 3-2 to open up their best of seven Semi-Final series. Mitch Dyck and Matt Krawiec did the goal scoring for the Flyers, who played well in Game One setting up what should be a very entertaining series.


After getting past the OCN Blizzard in the MJHL Quarter-finals, the fifth seed Winkler Flyers hit the road for the first game of their second round series against the second seed Virden Oil Capitals. The Oil Caps advanced to round two after a five game win over the Selkirk Steelers in the first round, and were the only team in the playoffs so far that had not played an overtime game.


The first period was a feeling out process for both clubs as the game went scoreless into the intermission. As they had done in five of their first six games of the post-season, the Flyers scored first just before the six minute mark of the second period. After skating the puck around in the offensive zone, Coltyn Bates spotted Mitch Dyck in the middle of the blueline. Dyck then snapped a shot right over the blocker of goaltender Riley McVeigh for his second goal of the playoffs while increasing his point streak to 13 games.


Then just over three minutes later the Flyers doubled their lead to 2-0 when defenseman Matt Krawiec followed up on an odd man rush and scored off a rebound, scoring his first of the playoffs. Connor Beebe and Trent Halfdanson assisted.


Late in the second period, the Oil Caps offense came to life with a number of dangerous shifts in the Winkler end. After keeping the puck in the attacking zone for a lengthy period of time, the Oil Caps cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1 on a goal by Rylee Zimmer with four minutes left in the period. During the very next shift, the Flyers took a penalty and handed the MJHL’s top playoff power-play a good opportunity to tie the game. And that they did, as Virden scored again just 28 seconds later and the game went tied 2-2 into the third.


After being shaken up early in the second period, Flyers goaltender Troy Martyniuk had a fantastic first 40 minutes as Virden had a 34-24 lead on the shot clock through two periods.


Neither team was able to capitalize on their chances in the third, and for the fifth time in seven games the Flyers were headed to overtime. The Flyers began the fourth period on the penalty-kill and managed to escape the first two minutes without giving up a goal. Then with 3:27 gone in the first overtime period Virden forward Ben Dalke finished off a 2-on-1 pass scoring the game winner on a one timer, giving the Oil Capitals a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.


Troy Martyniuk made 44 saves in the game as Virden outshot Winkler 47-36. Winkler was 0-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill.


Game Two of this series will go Sunday night in Winkler. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler/Morden Coop Gas Bar and Petro Canada Gas Bar. You can also catch the game live on the radio on Country 88.9FM or online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com. You can watch the game live on www.hockeytv.com


The first 500 fans through the door on Sunday will receive a free seat cushion from Quality Inn in Winkler. You can also enter the draw, using your tickets purchase at Coop, for a free tank of fuel to be given away during each period.


NOTE: Nolan McGuire, Matt Christian, Lucas Barker and Jacob Lacasse all missed Game One due to injury. Forward Griffin Leonard returned to the Flyers lineup after being injured in Game Two of the series against OCN.