The Winkler Flyers picked up a huge 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Blues at Bell MTS Iceplex Sunday night capping off a run of three games in three days. The win moved the Flyers to within two points of the seventh place Blues in the MJHL standings and four points clear of the ninth place Waywayseecappo Wolverines with 12 games left in the regular season.
Less than 24 hours after a disappointing home ice loss to the Steinbach Pistons, the Flyers made the trip to the provincial capital for a crucial game against the Blues. With three of the first four meetings being decided by a single goal, the Orange and Black were prepped for another tight game against the team ahead of them in the standings.
Winkler got on the board first when Josh Kagan stripped a Winnipeg defender of the puck at the blueline and went in to score his seventh of the season with 7:49 left in the opening period. The Flyers doubled their lead to 2-0 late in the first on the power-play as Collin Caulfield tucked in his third of the season on a wrap around with 42 seconds left on the clock. Garrett Kuklica and Griffin Leonard drew the assists.
Winnipeg cut Winkler’s lead in half just before the six minute mark of the second but the Flyers would get that one back before the break. After leading the Flyers into the attacking zone on a two on one, Jesse Korytko sent a pass over to Eric Fawkes who scored to restore Winkler’s two goal lead. Garrett Kuklica earned his second assist of the game and fourth point in his last three games on Fawkes ninth of the year.
The two teams traded chances in the third as the game started to open up. During a goal mouth scramble midway through the period, the Blues scored to cut Winkler’s lead to 3-2. And despite being outshot 14-5 in the final period, goaltender Riley Morgan and the Flyers would hang on to their one goal lead right to the end and saw their record improve to 21-23-4 thanks to a 3-2 win.
Morgan, who has now started the last seven games in a row, finished the night with 33 saves as the Blues outshot Winkler 35-27. The Flyers were 1-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers will return home to face the Selkirk Steelers on Tuesday night, which will be their fourth game in five days. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex for Hockey Gives Blood night will be 7:30pm. You can catch the game live on www.hockeytv.com