The Orange and Black had a nice bounce back effort on Saturday night in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Dauphin Kings. A night after losing in overtime to the Swan Valley Stampeders, the Flyers concluded their three game home stand with their 35th win of the season and 20th win on home ice.
With five wins in their first five games against Dauphin, the Flyers were looking for the series sweep as they tried to keep their hold on second place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League standings. The Kings on the other hand, entered play on Saturday just two points out of the playoff picture with 11 regular season games left.
It was a near perfect start for the Flyers when assistant captain Lawson McDonald (7) scored an unassisted power-play goal just 2:42 into the game. Later in the period, Coltyn Bates found Matt Christian in front of the net and he scored to double Winkler’s lead to 2-0 with roughly nine minutes left in the first. Ian Mackey also assisted on Christian’s 17th of the year.
With 4:43 left in the first, the Kings scored on the power-play to cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1. However, just 17 seconds later Matt Christian and Ian Mackey assisted on Coltyn Bates’ 13th of the season to restore the Flyers two goal lead.
The Flyers extended their lead to 4-1 with 7:24 gone in the second when Brett Opperman (3) scored from a sharp angle on Kings goaltender Brandon Holtby. Garrett Kuklica and Mitch Dyck drew the assists. Winkler netminder Cole Weaver had a strong middle frame stopping all 17 shots he faced as the Flyers took their three goal lead into the third.
Unlike Friday night where the Flyers slipped in the third period and let the Stampeders back into the game, Winkler kept the pressure on this time and recorded 24 of their 52 shots in the third period alone.
After Dauphin cut Winkler’s lead to 4-2 thanks to a lucky bounce in front of the goal with 8:04 to go, the Flyers would tack on two more before the end. With under five minutes left in the game, Coltyn Bates stole the puck away from Holtby behind the Kings net and scored his second of the game, once again restoring Winkler’s three goal lead.
Nearly a minute and a half later, Tanner Lewis scored from the top of the crease to make the score 6-2 for the home side. Braden Billaney and Mitch Dyck assisted on Lewis’ 10th goal as a Flyer and 12th overall this season. That goal increased both Lewis and Billaney’s point streaks to four games.
Cole Weaver earned his 23rd win of the season with a 34 save performance in goal for Winkler. The Flyers outshot Dauphin 52-36. The Flyers were 1-for-5 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (35-12-3) will now prepare for a big game coming up on Tuesday night. Winkler will travel to Selkirk to face the Steelers for the sixth and final time this season. The second place Flyers, lead the third place Steelers by four points in the standings with a game in hand. Winkler is 3-2 against Selkirk this year. Puck drop at the Selkirk Rec Complex is 7:30pm on Tuesday night (February 7th) with the pregame show on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – G BRANDON HOLTBY (DAUPHIN)