The Winkler Flyers dropped a heart breaker in Steinbach on Saturday night, losing 5-4 in a shootout to the Pistons in their final game before the Christmas Break. The single point moves the Flyers into a second place tie with the Winnipeg Blues in the MJHL Standings as they move into the unofficial second half of the season.

Looking to avenge their 7-1 loss in Steinbach less than a week ago, the Winkler Flyers traveled to the TG Smith Centre trying to build on their 8-3 win over the visiting Neepawa Natives the night before.

After the Pistons took the lead just over eight and a half minutes into the game, Cam Whyte deked out Steinbach goaltender Nick Deery with 6:30 to play in the period, tying the game at one. Tristan Keck assisted on Whyte’s 18th of the season.

Winkler then took the lead early in the second period when Kayden Jarvis buried a Nicholas Labossiere pass for his sixth of the year. Minutes later, Jon Carlson one-timed home a Jeff Michiels feed from behind the net and Winkler had a 3-1 lead thanks to Carlson’s third of the year, 9:53 into the second.

Steinbach cut Winkler’s lead to 3-2 with seven minutes remaining on the power-play. Flyers goaltender Dasan Sydora was having another strong outing, keeping his club in the lead through 40 minutes, despite being outshot 32-15 after two periods.

Tyler Penner pulled Steinbach even, 3:30 into the third period but Winkler would take the lead back just over five minutes later. At the 8:36 mark of the third, Bryce Enns and Connor Hamonic assisted on Scott Gall’s 11th of the year and the Flyers were back in front 4-3.

The fast paced, exciting hockey game would get turned up a notch at the end which led to the Pistons tying goal. With Zak Hicks already in the penalty box late in regulation, Dasan Sydora would get knocked down beside the goal by Pistons forward Tyler Garrioch. After no penalty was called on the play, both players made their way towards the Flyers net. Seconds later, Sydora chopped down the Steinbach forward in front of the goal, resulting in a five minute spearing major and a game misconduct for the Flyers’ goaltender and a lengthy 5-on-3 power-play for the Pistons.

Goaltender Casey Parker was then called into action with 2:36 left in the third, the Flyers leading 4-3 and the Pistons on the power-play. After a series of great saves by Parker, the Pistons managed to sneak in the tying goal with 1:55 left in regulation. Still on the power-play, the Pistons stormed the Flyers’ net the rest of the way but Parker and the Flyers would hold on until the buzzer.

In overtime, the Flyers killed off the rest of the Sydora major and had a small power-play of their own which they came close to scoring on, but the game would head to a shootout knotted up at four.

After Casey Parker and Pistons’ goaltender Nick Deery shut the door in the first three rounds, Tyler Penner snuck the game winner around the left leg of Parker giving Steinbach the extra point and the 5-4 victory.

Dasan Sydora and Casey Parker combined to make 54 saves through 65 minutes of play as Steinbach outshot Winkler 58-20. The Flyers now fall to (1-5) in shootout games. Winkler went 0-for-3 on the power-play and 2-for-4 on the penalty-kill.

At (22-10-6) the Winkler Flyers move into a second place tie with the Winnipeg Blues in the MJHL Standings heading into the Christmas Break. The Flyers will host the Steinbach Pistons on December 31st in a New Year’s Eve Matinee (4:30pm) in their first game back from the break.

The Winkler Flyers family would like to wish all their fans and supporters a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all after the break.