The Winkler Flyers let victory slip through their fingers in their return to home ice, falling 5-4 in overtime to the visiting Virden Oil Capitals. Playing their first home game in nearly a month, Winkler gave their fans a lot to cheer about but allowed Virden to get the extra point thanks to a number of late goals in regulation.
After playing their last six games on the road, the Flyers looked to get things back on track on home ice. With the Winkler Recreation Complex out of commission due to the provincial women’s curling championship, the Flyers had not played at home since January 6th. The Flyers were coming off their worst month of the season, going (2-3-3) in the month of January. They had earned at least a point in their last three games.
Playing the Oil Caps for the third time in the last three weeks and fourth time overall this season, Winkler was still looking for their first win against Virden. The Flyers entered the game just one point ahead of Virden in the standings with one game in hand.
The game was an entertaining one right from the start and had a playoff style atmosphere to it. The Oil Capitals took a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the game, forcing the Flyers to play catch up early on. Winkler would tie the game with 9:42 gone in the period when Jeff Michiels found Kayden Jarvis in the offensive zone and the rookie forward scored his 11th of the season, tying the game 1-1. Lawson McDonald earned an assist as well.
Moments later, Ryne Keller found the top corner for his second as a Flyer and Winkler had a 2-1 lead with 10:12 to play in the period. Scott Gall and Zak Hicks assisted. The Flyers went in front 3-1 with 8:09 left in the first when Zak Hicks and Tristan Keck assisted on Patrice Wren’s 13th goal of the year on the power-play. The three Flyers’ goals came in a span of just over three minutes.
Virden got one of those back with 7:10 remaining in the first, beating goaltender Dasan Sydora through a screen and the Flyers lead was cut to 3-2. Winkler outshot Virden 15-7 through 20 minutes and took their one goal lead into the second period.
The Oil Caps pushed back in the middle period, outshooting the Flyers 13-6 in the period. With Sydora keeping his team in front, Bryce Enns and Brett Klassen assisted on Kayden Jarvis’ second of the game with 6:33 to go in the second period and the Flyers were back in front by two goals.
Trying the hang on for the win in the third period, the Flyers two goal lead would hold until the final few minutes. With 2:40 left in regulation, Soren Frederiksen brought the Oil Caps back to within a goal, cutting the Flyers’ lead to 4-3. With the goaltender out, and the extra attacker on the ice, Virden tied the game with 58 seconds left to force overtime and give each team a single point.
Winkler had a number of good chances to get the extra point and win the game in overtime, but it was not meant to be. With 2:31 left in the fourth period, Devon Schram beat Sydora through the 5-hole, giving the Oil Capitals the 5-4 come from behind victory.
Dasan Sydora made 35 saves overall as the Oil Caps outshot the Flyers 41-30. Winkler went 1-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (25-13-10) are now tied for fourth place in the MJHL Standings with Virden with a game in hand. Winkler is also five points back of the third place Steinbach Pistons, who they will host on Tuesday, February 3rd in their next game. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex for the Flyers and Pistons is 7:30pm. Advance tickets can be purchased at any Winkler COOP Gas Bar Location in Winkler, Morden, and Plum Coulee.