The Winkler Flyers are off to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Semifinals for the second straight year after beating the Virden Oil Capitals 4-1 in Game Six on Sunday night. Nolan McGuire scored a pair of goals for the Flyers, who eliminated the Oil Caps four games to two.
Riding the high after a double overtime win in Game Five on Friday, the Flyers travelled back to Virden looking to punch their ticket to the next round. After holding off the Virden power-play in Game Five, the Orange and Black were a much more disciplined team in their series clinching win.
The Oil Caps played desperate hockey in the first and scored the game’s opening goal with just 24 seconds left before intermission. During the regular season and through the first five playoff games, the Flyers trailed their opponent after 20 minutes just 13 times. However, in those games Winkler had come back to win the game just once.
The Flyers comeback effort started early in the middle period when Nolan McGuire banged home a loose puck in the crease on the power-play, tying the game 1-1. Will Blake and Tyler Jubenvill assisted on the goal, 2:59 into the second period. The Flyers outshot Virden 16-10 in the second and the game went tied 1-1 into the third.
With three of the first five games being decided in overtime, including Game’s Four and Five on Thursday and Friday, the Flyers had a plan to finish it in the third. Just past the seven minute mark of the third, the Flyers took advantage of a Virden pinch in the neutral zone, sending Gino Lucia and Nolan McGuire racing into the attacking zone on a two on one. Carrying the puck down the right wing side, Lucia sent the pass over to McGuire who potted his second of the night to give Winkler their first lead of the game.
Will Blake, who also assisted on the goal, scored around seven minutes later to push Winkler ahead 3-1. Nolan McGuire and Ian Mackey assisted on Blake’s second of the playoffs. The final nail in the coffin came with 2:28 to play when Brett Opperman stripped a Virden defender of the puck and scored on the ensuing breakaway to put Winkler in front by three goals.
The Flyers would go on to win the game 4-1 and win the series 4-2. It was truly and very entertaining series with two of the games needing double overtime and one game needing triple overtime to decide a winner. Thirteen of the Thirty One goals scored in the series came on the power-play and 19 of those goals came in the third period.
Troy Martyniuk was the star of the series for Winkler making 33 saves in the series clinching win. Martyniuk finished the series stopped 203 of the 215 shots he faced in six games (.944 Save Percentage). Winkler outshot Virden 43-34 overall. The Flyers were 1-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill. After allowing seven power-play goals in the first four games, Winkler was a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty-kill in Game’s Five and Six combined.
The Flyers will now wait to see who they will face in the next round of the playoffs. More information will be available on www.winklerflyers.com in the coming days.
The Flyers would like to congratulate the Virden Oil Capitals on a tremendous series.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F NOLAN McGUIRE (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F WILL BLAKE (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)