Goaltender Nathan Warren was the star of the show as the Winkler Flyers beat the Steinbach Pistons 1-0 to take Game One of their MJHL Semi-Final series. Coltyn Bates scored the game’s only goal late in the first period to help the Flyers take a 1-0 series lead back home for Game Two.
With both teams having nearly a week of rest after their Quarter-Final victories, the Flyers made their way to the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach to begin the second round of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs. During their six game season series, the Flyers and Pistons both won three games, with the road team winning four of the six meetings.
The first period was an entertaining back and forth affair with the two teams trading chances. Winkler was the first to capitalize on one of those chances with just under three minutes left in the period. Parked in front of the net, Coltyn Bates tipped Zak Hicks’ point shot through the legs of goaltender Roman Bengert to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. Jeff Michiels also assisted on Bates’ first of the post-season.
Moving into the second period, the Pistons started to push for the equalizer and outshot Winkler 15-4 in the period, but failed to get any of those shots past Nathan Warren.
Steinbach would outshoot the Flyers by a margin 17-7 in the third period as well but Warren was absolutely unbeatable in Game One. After taking the lead late in the first period, the Flyers would hang on the rest of the way for the series opening victory.
Nathan Warren picked up the 44 save shutout as he continues to lead all MJHL goaltenders in every statistical category. The Pistons outshot Winkler 44-21 overall. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The series will now shift back to Winkler for Game Two on Saturday, March 26th. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 8pm. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Darrell Wheeler’s pregame show at 7:55pm.
The Flyers are 3-0 on home ice during the 2015-2016 Playoffs. Advance tickets for all Flyers home games are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – G Nathan Warren (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Coltyn Bates (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Cole Smith (Steinbach)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer of the Game.
G Nathan Warren