With three victories, the Oil Caps extended their winning streak to seven games. The Manitoba Junior Hockey League squad went an impressive 9-1-0-0 in the month of January. Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said, “It has been a total team effort, right from our goaltenders to our defence and through all four forward lines.”
“I think the group has gained a ton of confidence with the way they are playing, and they are finding ways to win,” he said. “Our effort has been very good, and we are getting contributions from everywhere in our lineup.”
Last week the Virden team beat Selkirk, 4-1 and dropped the Winnipeg Freeze twice – 4-1 and 3-2. The Oil Caps entered this week with a 23-17-1-0 record. They sit fifth in the MJHL’s MGEU West Division with 47 points. On Friday and Saturday, the team tangles with the squad one spot ahead of it – the OCN Blizzard (22-16-2-3, 49 points). The Feb. 4 contest will be in Virden. On Feb. 7, the squad hosts the Dauphin Kings, who were second in the West, as of Monday, with a 24-14-2-1 record and 51 points.
Before taking on OCN, five members of the Oil Caps headed to Winnipeg for the MJHL-Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Showcase. Representing the MJHL against the SJHL’s best were forwards Nolan Chastko and Josh Lehto, defenceman David Bielik, head coach Tyson Ramsey and athletic therapist Dana Warrener. The event was held on Tuesday and Wednesday after the Empire-Advance deadline.
Bill Hayward was named the Oil Caps Volunteer of the Month, which is sponsored by Manitoba Liqour & Lotteries. The longtime volunteer works as a goal judge.
Oil Caps Sign Platt
On Jan. 24, the Oil Caps announced the signing of 2005-born forward Rhett Platt. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward is playing this season for his hometown U18 AAA Regina Pat Canadians. Through 35 games, Platt had eight goals, 21 points and a team-high 82 penalty minutes.
“We are very excited about what Rhett will bring to our program here in Virden”, Ramsey said on the team’s website. “He is a 200-foot player that plays with grit and determination and also has the ability to score. He is a power forward type player that will be very hard to play against and we are very proud that he chose to come here to Virden to start his junior hockey career. We would like to welcome Rhett and his family to the Oil Caps organization.”
Oil Caps 4, Steelers 1
After a scoreless first period on Jan. 25, the host Oil Capitals used a three-goal outburst in the second to take control of its contest versus Selkirk. Chastko got things started with a powerplay marker before Colten Miller and Roux Bazin also found the back of the net to make it 3-0. The Steelers pulled within two, 3-1, on a Mathieu Catellier powerplay goal in the third period, but Bielik capped the scoring with an empty net goal.
The Oil Caps outshot the Steelers, 39-21. Virden goalie Eric Reid made 20 saves and was named the first star. For Selkirk, Hunter Tarves made 35 saves. Bielik had two points and was the second star with Miller being the third. Trevor Hunt was named the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Oil Caps forward Andrew Blocker and Jacob Ziegler dropped the gloves in the third period.
Oil Caps 4, Freeze 1
Last Friday the Oil Caps led 1-0 at the intermissions. In the final period, the hosts outscored the Freeze 3-1 to win 4-1. Virden led 3-0 before the Winnipeg team scored. Lighting the lamp for the Oil Caps were Josh Lehto, Blocker, Miller and Joey Bielik. Reid stopped 22 shots. The Oil Caps had 41 shots on goal with Freeze goalie Keegan Gordon stopping 37 of them.
Dean Gorchysnki had two assists on the night and was named the first star. Reid was the second star and Gordon the third. Manson’s Bray Rookes of the Oil Caps was named the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Elliott Perreault had the Freeze’s goal.
Oil Caps 3, Freeze 2
On Saturday, the Oil Caps trailed 1-0 on the road in the first period after Hayden Chaloner of the Freeze scored on a powerplay. Bazin knotted the game at 1-1 and then Trevor Hunt, in the final two minutes of the period, put Virden on top 2-1 with a powerplay marker. Just more than two minutes into the second period, Chastko scored to extend Virden’s lead to 3-1. Still in the second period, Brayden Stevenson, a former Oil Cap, scored to pull the Freeze to within a goal, 3-2, but could not tie things up. Owen LaRocque stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced. The Virden squad sent 45 shots at the Freeze goal.
Rookes and Briggs Jowett fought in the second period. Ethan Guthrie had two assists for Virden.
It was the 100th junior game for Oil Caps captain Brody Wilson, who is from Birtle.