The Winkler Flyers took a two games to one series lead in their best of seven series thanks to a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over the visiting Virden Oil Capitals on Sunday night. Cam Whyte scored with just 44 seconds left in the first overtime period and Devon Fordyce stopped 42 of 43 shots to give Winkler their first lead in the series.
Returning home for game three of their best of seven MJHL Quarterfinal series, the Winkler Flyers were riding high after tying the series at one with a 4-3 overtime win in game two, Friday night in Virden. The physicality and emotion of the previous two games continued in the first period of game three as the two clubs went into the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
Winkler went out in front just 34 seconds into the second frame when regular season MVP Tristan Keck carried the puck from behind the Virden net and snapped a shot over the glove of goaltender Sean Kuehn for his first of the post-season. Lawson McDonald and Ryne Keller assisted on the goal which gave Winkler their third 1-0 lead of the series. The Flyers took their one goal lead into the third while being outshot 17-15 by the Oil Caps.
The pace quickened in the third period as Virden tried to get back into the game. In the first two games, the Flyers had outscored Virden 4-2 in the first two periods combined but had been outscored 4-1 in the third. With Virden starting to get their chances in the third, the Flyers were forced to take a hooking penalty, sending the Oil Caps to the power-play late in the period. With 5:40 left in regulation, Soren Frederiksen scored on the power-play. With no more goals in the period, the Flyers and Oil Caps would need overtime for the second straight game.
Overtime provided even more speed and excitement then the first three periods with both clubs nearly ending the game on several occasions. With under a minute to play in the first 10 minute overtime period, Tristan Keck passed the puck up to the point for Zak Hicks who skated it down the right wing. After cutting to the net, Hicks threw the puck on net to Virden native Cam Whyte who beat Kuehn with just 54 seconds left in the fourth period.
Devon Fordyce was sensational once again between the pipes for Winkler, turning aside 43 of the 44 shots he faced. Virden outshot Winkler 43-32 overall. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers, who now lead the series (2-1) will travel back to Virden for game four on Tuesday, March 17th. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online atwww.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 7:25pm.
Winkler’s next home game is Thursday, March 19th for game five. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar.