Josh Kagan scored 2:08 into overtime as the Winkler Flyers beat the visiting Selkirk Steelers 6-5 on Tuesday night, moving themselves into a seventh place tie with the Winnipeg Blues. After falling behind 3-0 in the first twelve minutes of the game, the Flyers fought back to pick up another two points in the MJHL Standings.
Playing their fourth game in five days, the Flyers were looking to build off their 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Blues on Sunday night. Entering play on Tuesday, the Flyers had an 0-3 record against the Steelers and had been held to just a single goal in their first three meetings combined.
Selkirk got the early jump on the Flyers, taking a 1-0 lead on the power-play just 3:29 into the game. Then with 9:15 gone in the period, the Steelers doubled their lead to 2-0 and just over two minutes later had extended their lead to 3-0. It was definitely not the start the Flyers were looking for, but the second half of the period would go a lot better than the first half.
The Flyers cut Selkirk’s lead to 3-1 with just over five minutes left in the period when Colton Harder flipped a pass down low to Colton Friesen who found the back of the net for the seventh time this season. That goal injected some life into the Flyers who would take it to the Steelers the rest of the period.
With exactly two minutes remaining in the first, Gino Lucia would jump on a loose puck right in front of the Selkirk net and his wrist shot found the five-hole of goaltender Levi Mitchell to make it a one goal game. Winkler was not done there as Flyers’ leading scorer Griffin Leonard would send a pass in to Everett Bestland who tipped it past Mitchell with just 15 seconds left on the clock to tie the game 3-3. Lucia earned his second point of the night with the second assist on Bestland’s fifth of the year. After giving up three goals in the first 12 minutes of the game, the Flyers had come back to tie it with three goals of their own in a span of four minutes and 55 seconds.
The Steelers pushed back early in the second and regained the lead just 33 seconds into the period. Just minutes later, the Flyers headed to the power-play with a chance to pull even once again. After holding the puck at the left point, Griffin Leonard sent it over to Garrett Kuklica who spotted Gino Lucia open at the top of the right faceoff circle. Lucia took the pass and quickly sent a wrist shot into the net for his second of the night, tying the game 4-4. The assist for Kuklica was his fifth in his last four games.
Any momentum the Flyers generated from that goal was short lived as the Steelers would score again on the next shift and take their 5-4 lead into the second intermission.
With just two wins in 23 previous games when trailing after two periods, the Flyers had a tough task ahead of them, but Tuesday’s game would be different. Back on the power-play early in the period, Everett Bestland cashed in a rebound for his second of the night, tying the game up at five. Griffin Leonard and Gino Lucia each earned their third points of the game with assists on the goal.
Winkler goaltender Riley Morgan, who had a rough start to the hockey game, stood tall in the third period and helped get the game to overtime, securing a much needed single point for the Flyers.
Near the midway point of the extra period, Everett Bestland passed the puck up ahead to Josh Kagan, who jumped around a Selkirk defender before snapping a shot past Mitchell to give the Flyers the improbable 6-5, come from behind overtime victory.
Morgan finished the night with 28 saves as the Flyers outshot the Steelers 39-33. Winkler went 2-for-4 on the power-play and 0-for-1 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers, who are now tied with the Winnipeg Blues for seventh place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings are also now six points ahead of the ninth place Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Winkler will head back out on the road this weekend for three big games against Dauphin, Swan Valley and Waywayseecappo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can catch all three games with Matt Friesen on Country 88 and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway five minutes prior to game time. You can also watch on www.hockeytv.com