The Virden Oil Capitals gave their hometown fans plenty to cheer about last weekend.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League team romped past the Swan Valley Stampeders, 10-1, on Oct. 20 in front of 953 at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. The next night, with 803 looking on, the squad downed the visiting Winnipeg Freeze, 10-2.
The Oil Caps entered the week on a five-game winning streak and had a 7-3-1-0 record.
A couple of Oil Caps were rewarded for their roles in the team’s success. Roux Bazin and Naton Miller were two of the three Original 16 Stars of the Week in the MJHL. Bazin scored four goals and registered two assists over the two victories. Miller had three goals and two assists.
In other news last week, Oil Capitals assistant coach Curtis Brolund helped guide Team Manitoba to the gold medals at the WHL Cup in Red Deer.
The Oil Caps have a packed schedule with four contests this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they were in Winnipeg to play the Winnipeg Blues and Portage Terriers at the MJHL Showcase, where all 12 league teams compete in one place with scouts watching. The Oil Caps head to Swan River on Friday and OCN on Saturday.
The Stampeders scored first on Oct. 20. The Oil Capitals then reeled off 10 straight even strength markers to win 10-1. Virden goalie Eric Reid allowed only one goal, which came on the powerplay, on 27 shots. The Oil Caps led 2-0 and 5-1 at the intermissions.
Nolan Chastko lit the lamp twice and collected two assists for four points. Bazin scored twice and earned an assist. Other Oil Cap scorers included the Virden hometown duo of Bryce Bryant and Braeden Lewis as well as Joey Bielik, Brett Sabel, Miller, and Pipestone’s Luke MacKenzie
David Bielik recorded three assists on the night. Joey Bielik also had three points. Virden’s own Ty Plaisier recorded an assist in his season debut.
Chastko was the game’s Twin Valley Co-op first star. Bazin was the second star and Luke Robson, who had two assists, was the third. Bryant was the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Kenton’s Connor Rapley was called up from the U18 AAA Yellowhead Chiefs to back up Reid.
Callum Halls had Swan Valley’s goal. Elias Giaccari-Dimitriou made 30 saves on 40 shots. Elkhorn’s Foxx McColl played for the Stampeders.
After the contest, the team held a “Skate with the Caps.”
“It was lots of fun, especially after a big win,” Oil Caps forward Layton Veitch said. “It’s always good to interact with the kids. They come out and support us every home game so it’s always good to give back to them and it was a ton of fun.”
On Oct. 21, the Oil Caps led 3-0 after the first period and 6-0 following the second en route to a 10-2 victory. Miller, Lewis, and Bazin all lit the lamp twice. Veitch, Trevor Hunt, Cole Slobodian, and Josh Lehto also scored. It was Slobodian’s first MJHL goal. Sabel, MacKenzie, Lehto and Noel Englot each recorded two assists. As of Monday, Lehto led the MJHL with 19 points in 11 games. He was named the Oil Caps’ CD Oilwell Servicing Player of the Month for September.
Reid stopped 13 of the 15 shots he faced. Virden’s Brodie Cameron of the Elkhorn-based U17 AAA Canadian Ice Bandits played just over six and a half minutes in net for the Oil Caps. The son of Tara and Brett Cameron did not face a shot in his first MJHL appearance.
Nicholas Carlson and Aven Cockerill scored for Winnipeg. Nicolas Rempel stopped 48 of the whopping 58 shots sent his way. Virden’s Davis Thompson was in the lineup for the Freeze.
Miller was the first star of the game. Lehto was the second star and Lewis the third. Plaisier received the Gardewine Hardest Working Player honour.
On Oct. 20, the Oil Caps presented Chastko with the Cole Memorial Award for being last season’s playoff MVP. The award is named for the former Oil Cap who lost his battle with cancer in 2014.
As a rookie, Chastko helped the team make it to the MJHL finals. He paced the squad, and was second in the league, in playoff scoring. In 18 contests, he had 11 goals and 21 points.
“Being awarded the Cole Hamblin Award was a fun moment,” Chastko said. “Last year, each guy was a key contributor in our playoff success, so it could’ve gone to many different guys but I’m definitely honoured and very appreciative to receive the award.”
Catching Up With
Brock Shwaluk (2018-2019), based in Winnipeg, works in investment and financial planning for farmers and small business owners. He is an associate with Riley Gorman, a part of CIBC Wood Gundy. In December, the LaSalle product will graduate from the University of Manitoba with a finance and accounting degree. He will take the CFA exam in the new year.
Shwaluk came to the Oil Caps for his 20-year-old season after junior stops with the Winnipeg Blues and Kindersley Klippers. What does he remember most about his time with the Oil Caps?
"The community support and playing in front of the best fans in the MJHL. I also miss having 'pizza and card nights' with my billets Greg and Cathy Tough, and frequent visitor Ben Dalke and his billets Cheryl and Murray Foster," said Shwaluk, who went on to play a season at the University of Victoria.