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Oil Caps happy to be back playing

Although the Virden Oil Capitals lost both of their games last weekend, the team was pleased to be back playing regular season Manitoba Junior Hockey League contests.

The Oil Caps fell 5-2 at home on Sept. 17 and 5-1 the next day on the road to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. The games were the start of the team’s 10th season since the franchise moved from Winnipeg in 2012. The Oil Capitals had not played a regular season game since November of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was an awesome feeling to be back,” Virden defenceman Jackson Orr said of the season-opening contest. “Everyone in the room was so excited to be back playing hockey and having the new jerseys for the 10-year anniversary was the icing on the cake. The fans were amazing as always and the atmosphere was electric. You could tell everyone was excited that hockey was back.”

Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said it was an up and down weekend for the Oil Capitals.

“Obviously disappointed that we lost both but there were some very good things in both games,” he said. “With so much turnover from last year, we have lots to learn but our group works very hard and that will help us get better.”

One of the highlights of the weekend for Virden was the performance of Braden Fischer. The forward from Winnipeg was acquired from Powell River in the deal that sent Hunter Andrew to B.C. Fischer had team highs of two goals and three points through two games.

“Braden is just a very good player in all aspects of his game,” Ramsey said. “He is in tremendous shape and very skilled. His pucks skills are exceptional, and he see the ice so well. He is a very, very good player for us.”

Leaders

This past summer fourth-year defenceman Logan Rands was named the Oil Caps’ captain. Last week the squad announced that Dylan Halliday, in his fourth season with the club; Orr, in his third season; and Fischer would serve as assistant captains.

“It’s an honour for sure,” Halliday said. “It’s an organization I’ve been apart of for six years now and to be considered a leader on the team is something I take a lot of pride in.”

This Week

The Wolverines and Oil Caps meet again this weekend. Waywayseecappo hosts Friday with the teams playing in Virden on Saturday.

“We just want to get better every day,” Ramsey said. “We have some work to do on being more structured and harder to play against in our own end of the rink. We will have a good week of practice and be ready to go on Friday.”

Wolverines 5, Oil Caps 2

Early on in the Valleyview Co-op Home Opener, the Oil Caps gave their fans a lot to cheer about. Tyler Thoendel scored the first goal of the Oil Caps’ season. Fischer’s marker put the hosts up 2-0. They held that lead through the end of the second period.

In the third, Waywayseecappo scored five to take a 5-2 victory. Scoring for the Wolverines were: Reese Malkewich, Josh Peppler, Lonan Bulger, Carson Baptiste, and Troy Hamilton.

Fischer was named the Twin Valley Co-op First Star of the Game after a two-point performance. Oil Caps goalie Ryley Gross made 25 saves on 29 shots and was named the second star. Wolverines netminder Liam Tereposky stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced to earn the win and third star. Defenceman Bray Rookes of Manson was named the Gardewine Group Hardest Working Player of the Game.

The opener drew 968 to Tundra Oil and Gas Place. Saskatchewan country music artist Justine Sletten performed the anthem. A ceremony was held commemorating the start of the Oil Capitals’ 10th season. Participating were: team governor since 2012- Bob Berry; local business partner with Valleyview Co-op - Greg Gill; billet families since 2012 - Perry and Tara Meikle, Ian and Elaine Glendinning, Murray and Cheryl Foster, and Greg and Cathy Tough; season ticket holder since 2012 and Mayor of Virden - Murray Wright; and Oil Caps alumni - Dylan Thiessen, Ben Dalke, Brock Shwaluk, Kolten Kanaski, Hunter Cloutier and Owen Blocker.

Wolverines 5, Oil Caps 1

On the second night of opening weekend, Tristan Bear staked Waywayseecappo to a 1-0 lead in the first period. Boston Bird made it 2-0 for the Wolverines in the second. Fischer lit the lamp on the powerplay to pull the Oil Caps within one, 2-1, before the second intermission.

Peppler scored shorthanded and Jacob Charko and Mi-Kwan Tallman also had third period goals for the Wolverines. Peppler, Bird, and Tallman were named the three stars of the game.

Virden goalie Dawson Rattai turned away 24 of the 29 shots thrown at him. Tereposky had 18 saves.

Stevenson Acquired

The Oil Capitals have added 17-year-old forward Brayden Stevenson from the Dauphin Kings for a third-round pick in the 2022 MJHL Draft. Stevenson recorded a goal and an assist for Rink Hockey Academy U18 prep team last season.