Brayden Cullum, Jeff Michiels and Tanner Lewis all scored for the Flyers on Saturday night, in a 4-3 overtime loss in Steinbach. Winkler tied the game not once, but twice in the third period to earn a valuable point against the MJHL’s first place club.
Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Flyers made their first trip of the season to the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach for just their second game of the year against the Pistons. Steinbach took the first meeting in Winkler back in October.
The Flyers drew first blood during a very entertaining opening period. With 3:34 to play in frame, Tanner Lewis tipped in Mitch Dyck’s point shot on the power-play to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. It was Lewis’ second goal in as many games and seventh overall this season. Scott Gall also earned his fourth point in his last three games with his team leading 43rd point of the year with the second assist.
Steinbach tied it up early in the second and a nice goal by Bradley Schoonbaert. Just past the halfway point of the middle frame, Mark Taraschuk scored a power-play goal for the home side and the Pistons had taken a 2-1 lead.
It was a very fast paced, hard hitting affair on Saturday night with both teams generating some nice chances. Both Cole Weaver and Roman Bengert, who are near the top of the MJHL in every goaltending category, were in fine form as well.
Just before the five minute mark of the third period, Jeff Michiels collected the rebound off a Tyler Lindstrom point shot and buried his sixth of the year to tie the game 2-2. Steinbach pushed back with another goal a few minutes later to regain their one goal lead.
However, a minute and a half after that, the Flyers were rewarded during a hard working shift when Brayden Cullum scored to tie the game 3-3 with 10:19 to play in regulation. Brett Opperman and Tyler Jubenvill assisted on Cullum’s seventh of the season.
Both teams had their chances to get the victory before overtime, but both Weaver and Bengart continued their solid play right to the end of regulation.
With both clubs already guaranteed of a single point, the back and forth action continued in the overtime period. Just after a series of great Winkler chances around the Steinbach net, Mackenzie Graham would tip in the game winner past the right leg of Cole Weaver to give the Pistons the extra point and the 4-3 win.
Weaver played great for the Flyers, making 23 saves on 27 shots. The Flyers outshot Steinbach 35-27. Winkler went 1-for-3 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The third place Flyers (26-10-1) will host the Neepawa Natives (10-22-3) on Sunday, January 8th in their next game. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F MACKENZIE GRAHAM (STEINBACH)
2ND STAR – F BRAYDEN CULLUM (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F BRADLEY SCHOONBAERT (STEINBACH)