The Winkler Flyers dropped a 4-1 decision to visiting OCN Blizzard on Friday night in the first of back to back games against their rivals from the north. Playing their first home game in nearly three weeks, the Orange and Black struggled to get the breaks they needed while moving into a fourth place tie with OCN in the league standings.
Coming off back to back wins in Waywayseecappo and Winnipeg, the Flyers welcomed the Blizzard for the first time this season with a critical two points on the line. Entering play on Friday, the Flyers led the Blizzard by two points in the race for fourth place in the standings and home ice advantage in a potential first round playoff series. Having last played each other last Saturday in OCN, the Flyers were looking to snap their three game losing streak against the Blizzard.
Winkler had a good opening 20 minutes as they outshot the Blizzard 14-7 in the period, but gave up the lone goal of the frame and trailed 1-0 after one.
OCN doubled their lead to 2-0 just under eight minutes into the second and Winkler trailed 2-0 heading into the third. Winkler’s bad luck around the net continued into the third, as the Flyers continued to find themselves just short and getting back into the game.
The Blizzard seemed to put the game out of reach with two more goals to start the third and the Flyers found themselves down 4-0. With 8:29 left in regulation, the Flyers finally found the back of the net when defenseman Garrett Kuklica scored his fourth goal of the season to cut OCN’s lead to 4-1. Everett Bestland and Brady Pupp picked up the assists.
Unfortunately for Winkler, that is as close as they would come as the Blizzard would win the game 4-1 and move into a fourth place tie with the Flyers in the standings.
Troy Martyniuk took the loss in goal as the Flyers outshot OCN 39-33. Winkler went 0-for-6 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers will host the OCN again on Saturday night in their final meeting of the regular season. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm.
The next Winkler Canvas $10,000 shoot to win will take place during the second intermission. Sign up in the arena lobby for a chance to shoot for $10,000 cash.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G EMILIEN BOILY (OCN)
2ND STAR – D GARRETT KUKLICA (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F JESSE ROACH (OCN)