The Winkler Flyers scored two goals in the opening five minutes on Friday night, en route to a 3-1 win over the OCN Blizzard in the second game of their MJHL Quarterfinal series. The victory gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead after the first two games, as the series now heads up north for the next two.
Less than 24 hours after winning the first game of the series, the Flyers were looking to keep hold of their home ice advantage with another victory in Game Two. Friday night’s game was even more physical and intense than the series opener, which made for a very exciting brand of hockey.
The Flyers victory in Game One was due in large part to a fast start, racing out to a 3-0 first period lead. Winkler nearly repeated that performance in the second game. The Flyers took a 1-0 lead when Zak Hicks found the back of the net with a power-play point shot, and Winkler was off to the races just 3:28 into the game. Scott Gall and Jordan Wall assisted.
Not even a minute later, Gall picked up his second point of the game with his first goal of the playoffs to give Winkler a 2-0 lead. Jordy Williamson and Thomas Mansbridge each earned their third points of the post season with assists on the goal.
With Winkler still leading by two goals in the second period, the Blizzard turned up the intensity in the middle frame and came at the Flyers hard. But Winkler would escape the second period, thanks to the strong goaltending of Nathan Warren, and took their 2-0 lead into the third.
The Blizzard caught a break near the midway point of the final period when defenseman Maverick Rafter flipped the puck on goal from centre ice, and it found the back of the net after skipping through Warren’s five-hole. That would be the only blemish to an otherwise tremendous night for the Flyers goaltender.
Just minutes after OCN cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1, Tristan Keck would give the Flyers some breathing room with his second of the playoffs, giving Winkler a 3-1 lead with 8:42 to go. Connor Hamonic and Kayden Jarvis drew the assists.
Nathan Warren made a number of very impressive stops while picking up the win. He made 32 saves overall and leads all MJHL goaltenders with a 2-0 record, a .971 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average in the playoffs.
Winkler outshot OCN 37-33 overall. The Flyers went 1-for-7 on the power-play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill.
After winning both game one and game two of this best of seven quarterfinal series at home, the Flyers will look to stay in control with games three and four scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in OCN. You can catch both games live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:55pm. Puck drop at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre is 7pm.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Scott Gall (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Tristan Keck (Winkler)
3rd Star – G Nathan Warren (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
D – Connor Hamonic