On day one of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Showcase in Portage, the Oil Caps beat the Selkirk Steelers, 6-4, on Monday. That victory followed a 2-1 overtime loss Friday on the road against the OCN Blizzard and a 5-2 loss to the same host on Thursday.
The Oil Caps, who had a 9-10-2-0 record as of Monday, were to play Winkler in their second Showcase game on Wednesday, after the Empire-Advance deadline. The event brings all 12 MJHL clubs to one spot in front of scouts from various levels of hockey.
“It’s always an exciting time when the Showcase rolls around,” Oil Caps forward Dylan Halliday said. “It’s a great opportunity for guys to make an impression on scouts to hopefully be able to play hockey past junior. Also, it’s cool to be around the rink with other teams and get to see teams that you haven’t got the chance to play against yet.”
After the Showcase, the Oil Caps play in Selkirk on Friday. They host that community’s Steelers on Saturday.
On Monday in Portage, the Oil Caps scored twice in each period to defeat the Steelers. The contest was knotted at 2-2 at the first intermission after goals by Virden’s Carson Buydens and Tyler Thoendel and Selkirk markers by Quinton Hill and Matthew Gerke. In the second, Halliday and Braden Fischer put Virden up 4-2 before Steeler Jordan Hughesman made it 4-3 before the end of the period. Evan Groening put the lead back up to two, 5-3, for Virden. Selkirk’s Mathieu Catellier scored the game’s lone powerplay marker to make it a one goal game. Oil Caps defenceman Trevor Hunt capped the scoring with an empty net goal.
Virden netminder Ethan Kadatz made 32 saves on 36 shots. The Oil Caps sent 23 shots at Hunter Tavres and he stopped 18 of them. Virden was 0-for-5 on the powerplay while Selkirk was 1-for-5.
The Oil Caps picked up a point in the standings on Friday with a 2-1 OT road loss to the Blizzard. After OCN’s Mike Hlady opened the scoring in the second period, Halliday answered on a powerplay for Virden. The next goal was in overtime when Raj Gil gave the hosts the victory.
In a goaltenders’ duel, Kadatz stopped 32 shots. His Blizzard counterpart, Steven Bacovsky, had 40 saves. Virden was 1-for-6 on the powerplay. The Oil Caps stopped all of OCN’s three extra man advantages.
The night before the Blizzard scored three first period goals to take a 3-0 lead in the third game of the four-game series. Scoring for OCN were Riley Zimmerman, Hlady, and Bryden Sinclair. Brett Tataryn’s second frame marker to make it 4-0 for OCN. In the third, defenceman Jackson Orr scored the second goal of his MJHL career and Groening lit the lamp to make it 4-2. However, Virden could not come closer and OCN added an empty net goal by Drayden Kurbatoff.
Virden goalie Eric Reid made six saves on nine shots. Kadatz came on to start the second period and made 26 saves. Bacovsky stopped 29 shots.
Through Monday, Fischer was fourth in the MJHL with 32 points in 21 games. With 13 goals, he was tied for fifth in the league. Halliday was 13th in the MHL with 22 points in 21 games while Buydens was 15th with 21 in 21.