For the second straight meeting, the Winkler Flyers beat the visiting Winnipeg Blues 3-2 on Friday night, improving their season opening record to 5-1-1. Zak Hicks, Cam Whyte and Thomas Mansbridge scored for the Flyers who currently sit on top of the MJHL standings through seven games this season.
Playing their first game of the Thanksgiving weekend, the Flyers welcomed the Winnipeg Blues for the second time this season. Back of September 29th, the Flyers defeated the Blues 3-2 in their first head-to-head meeting of the year.
The Flyers power-play has been one of their strengths early on this season having scored a goal on the man advantage in each of their first six games. Winkler kept up their power-play success and took a 1-0 lead just 5:05 into the game.
With a Blue in the box, the Flyers went to work on the power-play and spent a considerable amount of time in the Winnipeg zone. From Zak Hicks the puck went down low to Tristan Keck who snapped a shot on goal. After goaltender Scott Parsons knocked down the shot, Cam Whyte was in the right place at the right time and scored his fourth of the season giving Winkler a 1-0 advantage.
The Flyers added to their lead in the second period thanks to Zak Hick’s team leading fifth goal of the season. Cam Whyte and Kayden Jarvis assisted on the goal to double Winkler’s lead to 2-0 with 4:53 left in the middle frame.
Just 38 seconds after Winnipeg cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1 early in the third period, Thomas Mansbridge snuck in his third and the Flyers were back in front by two goals. Zak Hicks and Scott Gall assisted. With 4:21 left in regulation, the Blues pulled back to within a goal.
With a late 3-2 lead, the Flyers buckled down and fought hard the rest of the way while earning their fifth win of the year.
Ryan Larochelle made 27 saves in his fourth win of the season. The Flyers outshot Winnipeg 34-29 overall. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (5-1-1) have a one point lead on the Portage Terriers for first place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings. Winkler’s next game is Sunday, October 11th when they host the OCN Blizzard (2-2-2). Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm
NOTES: Flyers D Nathan Karlowsky has been suspended for two games for his hit during Tuesday’s game against the Steinbach Pistons. He served the first of those two games on Friday night. Forward Braden Billaney also made his regular season debut against Winnipeg after suffering an injury during the preseason.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1st Star – Ryan Larochelle – Winkler (27 saves)
2nd Star – Zak Hicks – Winkler (1 goal – 2 assists)
3rd Star – Cam Whyte – Winkler (1 goal – 1 assist)