The Winkler Flyers got past the Portage Terriers 4-3 on Sunday night to head into the Christmas Break on a high note. Scott Gall scored twice and Cole Weaver was sensational in net as the Flyers earned their 25th win of the season in their final game of 2016.
After dropping a heartbreaking 3-2 decision the night before in Portage, the Flyers welcomed the Terriers for the rematch at home. Sunday night’s game was the first home game for the Flyers since seeing their 10 game home ice winning streak snapped by the Selkirk Steelers in late November.
The Flyers got off to a fast start when Scott Gall picked the top corner just 31 seconds into the game and the Flyers had an early 1-0 lead. Portage tied the game on a goal by Jeremy Leipsic just over seven minutes into the second.
Much like Saturday’s game in Portage, the game was a tight, entertaining contest with end to end action and great goaltending. Winkler regained their lead with 9:21 left in the middle period on the first of two power-play goals in the game. After skating the puck off the side boards, Scott Gall fired a shot into the far side of the net for his second of the night. Nathan Peabody and Lawson McDonald assisted on Gall’s 20th goal of the year.
Nearly two minutes later, Chase Brakel scored the Terriers second goal and the game was once again tied. With just over two minutes remaining in the second, Jeff Michiels took a pass in the left slot and fired it off the post and in to give Winkler a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. Brody Moffatt and Lawson McDonald assisted on Michiels’ 5th of the year.
Outshooting the Terriers 27-17 early in the third, the Flyers went back to the power-play looking to get some insurance. Just before the two minute mark of the third, Brayden Cullum slid a perfect pass over to the right wing for Captain Connor Hamonic and he beat Aiken upstairs to extend Winkler’s lead to 4-2. Jeff Michiels also assisted on Hamonic’s first goal of the year.
With both goaltenders keeping the game close with some jaw dropping saves an both ends of the ice, the Terriers would add one more to cut Winkler’s lead to 4-3 with 11:26 left in regulation.
That would be as close as Portage would get though, as Weaver and the Flyers would protect their one goal lead until the very end to win the game 4-3, evening their season series against the Terriers to 3-3 with the home team winning all six games.
Cole Weaver increased his record to 17-5 with a 24 save performance. Winkler outshot the Terriers 41-27 overall. The Flyers were 2-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The win moves the Flyers record to 25-10-0 and puts them seven points behind the first place Steinbach Pistons and three points ahead of the third place OCN Blizzard entering the Christmas Break. The Flyers will return to action on January 3rd when they host the Dauphin Kings.
The Flyers would like to wish all their players, fans and supporters a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing on again in 2017.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F SCOTT GALL (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F JEFF MICHIELS (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F CHASE BRAKEL (PORTAGE)