The Winkler Flyers point streak ended at eight games on Saturday night with a 3-2 loss to the Oil Capitals in Virden. It was the Flyers first regulation loss since October 12th and first loss of the season in three games against their rivals from Virden.
After starting their weekend road trip with an overtime win in Dauphin the night before, the Flyers played well as a group in Virden, but at the end of the day, turnovers and missed opportunities would be their undoing.
Winkler, who came into the game with a 7-0-1 record over their last eight games, had a strong opening period outshooting the Oil Caps 12-5 but failing to find the back of the net. Virden opened the scoring early in the second frame when leading scorer Hunter Cloutier picked the pocket of defenseman Collin Caulfield and scored on the ensuing breakaway, giving the home side a 1-0 lead.
Not even three minutes later, Winkler got that one back as Everett Bestland jammed in a loose puck beside the net pulling the Flyers even. Colton Friesen and Eric Fawkes assisted on Bestland’s second goal of the weekend.
However, Virden would take advantage of yet another turnover at the Winkler line when Mason Fisher poked the puck off the stick of Colton Harder and right to Parker Brakebill who beat Britt League to restore the Oil Caps one goal lead before intermission.
Despite playing well again in the third period, the Flyers gave up the next goal on the power-play with just over five minutes left in regulation. Winkler made it close as the found themselves on the power-play in the final minutes. Pulling the goaltender to make it a 6-on-4 power-play, Jesse Korytko fired a shot through the five-hole of Dalton Dosch with 1:58 left on the clock to make it a one goal game. Everett Bestland and Eric Dahl assisted on Korytko’s six of the season.
Unfortunately for Winkler, that is as close as they would come as they were forced to settle for the loss despite playing a pretty solid hockey game overall.
Britt League (2-1-1) took the loss in net making 24 saves as the Flyers outshot Virden 37-27. Winkler went 1-for-3 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (10-6-2) will conclude their weekend road trip on Sunday night in Wayway (10-7-2). Puck drop at the Waywayseecappo Arena goes at 6pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88 and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 5:55pm. You can also stream the game on www.hockeytv.com. The Flyers are 0-1-1 in their two previous games against the Wolverines. The two teams enter the game tied for fourth place in the MJHL Standings.