The Winkler Flyers earned a point in a fast and physical 5-4 overtime loss to the league leading Portage Terriers on Sunday night. Griffin Leonard scored a pair of goals for the Flyers who came from behind in the third period to force overtime and move to within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Looking to put a tough loss in Virden behind them, the Orange and Black welcomed the MJHL leading Portage Terriers to the Winkler Rec Complex. Entering play on Sunday, the Terriers had recorded the most goals in the league, while the Flyers entered play on the bottom of that list.
The Flyers would trade offensive blows with Portage throughout the entire game and it was Winkler who got on the board first. Just before the game was five minutes old, Griffin Leonard carried the puck into the Terriers’ zone and sent a shot through the legs of a Portage defenseman and past goaltender Nathan Moore to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. Brody Moffatt and Gino Lucia drew the assists.
Just 19 seconds later, Leonard would beat Moore again to move the Flyers ahead by two goals with his team leading 13th of the season and sixth goal in his last seven games. The leagues top power-play would get on the board shortly after as the Terriers cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1 not even a minute later.
The Terriers struck for two more quick ones later in the period and despite a good start to the period, the Flyers trailed 3-2 after the first.
The second period was a good back and forth period of hockey as the Flyers tied the game just over three minutes in. This time it was rookie forward Josh Kagan who picked the top corner from the left wing slot and the game was all square at three. Colton Friesen and Kurtis Luke assisted on Kagan’s fifth of the season.
Before the end of the period, the Terriers regained the lead and Winkler needed one goal to tie with 20 minutes left to play.
And that goal would come with 12:39 left on the clock as Jayden McCarthy jumped on a loose puck in the crease and scored his seventh of the year to tie the game 4-4. After a couple of missed opportunities on some late game power-plays, the Flyers and Terriers needed more than 60 minutes to decide a winner.
Just 1:25 into the overtime period, the Terriers would score the game winner to take the game 5-4.
Riley Morgan took the loss in goal for Winkler making 31 saves as both teams finished the night with 36 shots on goal. Winkler was 0-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The same two teams will go at it again on Wednesday night at Stride Place in Portage. Puck drop in Portage is 7:30pm. You can catch the game live on Country 88 and www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 7:25pm. You can also watch it online with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com
WINKLER MEATS THREE STARS
1ST Star – F Joey Moffatt (Portage)
2nd Star – F Griffin Leonard (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Jay Buchholz (Portage)