The Winkler Flyers hung on for a 6-5 victory over the visiting Dauphin Kings on Saturday afternoon earning their 12th win of the season. Playing against eachother for the second time in less than 24 hours, the Flyers and Kings had an emotional fourth meeting of the season with seven goals scored and 172 penalty minutes handed out in the third period alone.
After falling 6-2 to the visiting Kings on Friday night, the Flyers were looking for more offense on Saturday afternoon having averaged less than two goals scored per game over their last six outings. The Flyers found their offensive touch right off the bat as Josh Kagan and Colton Friesen assisted on Eric Fawkes’ third goal of the season just 1:44 into the hockey game.
Fawkes would return the favour later in the period when he assisted on Friesen’s shot from the left wing wall and the Flyers had doubled their lead to 2-0. Winkler kept it going in the middle frame and moved in front 3-0 before the period was four minutes old. This time it was Assistant Captain Brody Moffatt snapping a nine game goalless drought with his 7th goal of the year.
Halfway through the second, the Kings cut Winkler’s lead to 3-1 with a short-handed marker and Winkler took their two goal lead into the break with the game seemingly under control. With a record of 6-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes, the Flyers looked to put the game away in the third.
The period started out great as the Flyers took a 4-1 lead in the first minute of the final frame. An aggressive Winkler backcheck resulted in the puck being sent up ahead to Jesse Korytko who made no mistake scoring his 8th of the year.
Then with just over five minutes gone in the third, a checking from behind penalty against Winkler defenseman Drake Burgin sent the game down an emotional and physical path. The Kings cut Winkler’s lead to 4-2 on the ensuing power-play. Just minutes later, Griffin Leonard potted his 8th of the year on the power-play and Winkler’s three goal lead had been restored.
The Flyers, who had yet to score more than five goals in a game this season tacked on another one later in the period. Already with two assists in the game, forward Josh Kagan led fellow rookie Kyle Lang on a 2-on-1. Taking the pass from Kagan in front of the net, Lang flipped a back hander past the goalie to make the score 6-2 for Winkler with 8:30 left in regulation.
Dauphin didn’t go down without a fight though as they started chipping away at Winkler’s four goal lead. In a span of just over six minutes, the Kings scored three times and Winkler’s lead had shrunk to 6-5 with just 35 seconds left in regulation. The Flyers defense bent but did not break at the end and would hang on to their lead, snapping their three game losing streak and moving back into fourth place in the MJHL Standings.
Eric Fawkes, Colton Friesen, Kyle Lang and Griffin Leonard all finished the game with a goal and an assist. Josh Kagan ended the afternoon with three assists.
Britt League earned his third win in a Flyers’ uniform making 27 saves. Winkler outshot Dauphin 35-32. The Flyers were 1-for-5 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (12-9-2) will host the Neepawa Natives (6-13-4) on Tuesday night at the Access Event Centre in Morden. Puck drop at the Access Event Centre is 8pm. You can stream the game live on www.hockeytv.com