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Game Recap: VS. Winkler Flyers

Game Recap: VS. Winkler Flyers        Oct 9th, 2014        Game 8
After the Winnipeg Blues took their first losses of the season in back to back games, there was a need for redemption going into game 8 against the Winkler Flyers.
First period saw the Flyers take immediate possession, with a shot within 35 seconds, and putting the Blues straight on defense. A mishap in line change, resulting in too many men, gave the Winkler visiting team a powerplay 1:42 into play; the penalty not only was successfully killed, but Winnipeg was able to get their offensive play rolling and came out two minutes later with equal SOG whilst being down one man. A Blues dominant period went on until 7:53 when, again, the home team took to the box and went into the second penalty kill of the game. Play did not change much; defense were able to keep the Flyers without a shot, and an almost goal by Gordie Keane on the PK kept the momentum driving for the Blues. After 14:35 on the ice, and fresh off the powerplay, the Flyers were able to gain control, and a rebound gave the opening for Lawson McDonald to put the first goal on the board, and his team in the lead. With countless fruitless plays and the game now back and forth since their second penalty, the Blues needed a way to produce the equalizing goal. The Flyers took their first penalty with 2:39 left in the first, and gave Winnipeg the advantage they needed. After a rebound off the post, Scott Rowswell, who had been a key offensive playmaker throughout the period, scored the Blues opening goal with assists from Jackson Keane and Mack Heisinger. With the score now 1-1 and 2:19 left in the period, Winkler were able to break through the Blues sturdy defense, and produce their first SOG in over 5 minutes; a wraparound assist gave Tristen Heck the goal with 29.4 seconds remaining. The period ended 1-2, the Blues outshooting their opposition 11-6.
An aggressive start to the second period resulted in board battles and pressure from both sides; the Winkler Flyers coming up with 5 shots in the first 4 minutes. Multiple potential rebounds were offered by goalies from each side, but neither team was able to use this to their advantage. The Blues offense answered back to the Flyers shots with many close calls, including a crossbar shot. Winkler took their second penalty 6 minutes into play and, a minute later, the infamous Bilton-Hall duo gave their team the equalizer in another post rebound. Winnipeg began to take control yet again, forcing Winkler to battle to keep the puck away from their net. The Flyers, who had not been allowed a SOG in almost 7 minutes, took their second high sticking penalty of the night with 6:15 left on the clock. The lackluster PP for the Blues resulted in only one shot, and the period ran down ending in a 2-2 tie, and the Blues still outshooting the Flyers 24-14.
The third period saw a different visiting team hit the ice; with puck possession long enough to produce plays, the Flyers put up equal SOG until, with almost 12 minutes ran off the clock, they were forced back into the penalty box. The Rowswell-Keane-Heisinger line proved productive once again when, 14 seconds in PP, they scored their second goal of the night, and Rowswell sending the Blues into a 3-2 lead. The Flyers took another penalty a minute later, and were able to keep their opposition from extending their lead. The Blues took their only penalty of the period a minute into even strength, and again produced a flawless PK and keeping the Flyers to one attempt and no goals. As the period ran down, it looked like Winnipeg would be taking home the W; the game was somewhat even with the Blues still maintaining dominance with the puck, but each team only putting up one or two shots. Winkler got the boost they needed during their 30 second time out, when 4 seconds after hitting the ice again, and only 33.5 seconds left to go in regulation time, Tristen Keck scored his second of the night, and the Flyers equalized the scoreboard at 3-3. The Blues were unable to get the lead back within the final seconds and, for the third game straight, they were headed to OT.
Five minutes of OT saw a powerplay for each team, no goal, and only two SOG apiece, and the game went to shootout. Gianlucca Esteves broke the Blues’ shootout goal drought after a failed attempt from each team, but was answered back by the Flyers. Captain Brett Brooks came back with a beauty goal striking the top of the net which, one failed Flyers shot later, was the goal that sealed the win, and ended the two game OT loss streak for the Blues.
The Winnipeg Blues are now sitting at 6-0-2 and in second place standings behind the undefeated Portage Terriers. The Blues are set hit the road to face the Dauphin Kings on Saturday, and will play three more away games before returning to home ice Thursday October 23rd to play for redemption against the Virden Oil Capitals.HELLOOOOOs