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Oil Caps start season with two OT wins

The Virden Oil Capitals opened their 2022-2023 season with a pair of dramatic victories.

Last Friday night in a Tundra Oil and Gas Place packed with 1,021 fans, newcomer Davis Chorney scored in overtime to lift the home team to a 4-3 victory over the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. On the road the next night, the Oil Caps earned another 4-3 OT victory over the Wolverines. This time it was second-year forward Joey Bielik lighting the lamp in the extra session.

“It definitely is a huge momentum weekend for all the guys getting two wins but also pushing through and getting two wins in overtime makes it that much greater for our team,” Bielik said.

With nine players returning from last season’s squad, last Friday was the first regular season home game for many Oil Caps. The enthusiastic fans certainly impressed.

“The crowd was awesome,” said Chorney, who was acquired from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in the offseason. “Lots of younger kids there cheering for us in the tunnel and by the glass. We had over a thousand people there and it was great to play in front of everyone. We love the support we get from the community at our games and for our team.”

Virden was one of five MJHL teams to sport a perfect 2-0 record after the opening weekend.

“Obviously the 2 wins is a great start for us and we did some good things in both games,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “I liked our work ethic and the willingness to compete. Our goaltending was very good, and I think we generated some good quality chances at times in both games.”

This weekend the Oil Capitals continue their Manitoba Junior Hockey League season with a home-and-home series against 1-0-1-0 Neepawa. Virden hosts on Friday, while the Titans have the honours on Saturday.

Through the first game, Chorney and Andrew Blocker led the team with three points each. Both were acquired in the offseason. Chorney had a team-best two goals.

Leaders Named

After previously announcing Birtle’s Wilson as captain, the Oil Capitals unveiled the rest of its leadership group. Manson’s Bray Rookes, a defenceman in his fourth season with the club, will serve as an assistant captain. So will fellow 20-year-old Colten Miller, a forward from Killarney, and 19-year-old defenceman David Bielik, who is from Winnipeg. 

Oil Caps 4, Wolverines 3 OT

On opening night, Virden led 3-2 after the first intermission with Luke DeCorby, Nicholas Guberman (on a powerplay), and Andrew Blocker scoring for the hosts. Waywayseecappo knotted the game at 3-3 in the second on a powerplay. Neither team found the back of the net in the third period, so overtime was needed.

In OT, Blocker forced a turnover in Waywayseecappo’s zone. He found Ethan Guthrie across the ice. Wolverines’ goalie Michael Bashaw made a sprawling save, but Chorney beat his man to the net and put the puck in. Virden’s own Eric Reid made 20 saves for Virden, while Bashaw had 36. Owen Wheatley and Jack Clarke had Waywayseecappo’s first period goals.

David Bielik was named the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Chorney was named the first star, while Blocker, with two points, was the second star. Wolverines defenceman Aiden Ziprick earned third star honours. Guberman, Chorney and DeCorby each scored their first MJHL goals. The Virden Collegiate Institute volleyball teams were in the Mainline King of Trucks Kids Zone.

Oil Caps 4, Wolverines 3 OT                                                                      

In Waywayseecappo, the Oil Caps jumped out to a 2-0 in the first and led 3-2 going into the second intermission. Scoring for Virden were Chorney, Nolan Chastko and captain Brody Wilson. It was Chastko’s first MJHL goal. Ryan Jossy and Carson Baptiste had Waywayseecappo’s markers.

 

In the third, the Wolverines tied the game on a powerplay. On a powerplay in the extra session, David Bielik, a defenceman, connected with his twin brother Joey for the winning goal.

“The puck got dumped back into our zone and I saw Dave pick it up and really started getting moving going wide into their zone. I tried getting myself into the soft spot in the middle and get lost a bit and Dave made a really nice pass and all I basically had to do was tap it in. It was a great play,” Joey Bielik said.

Owen LaRocque made 30 saves for Virden. He earned his first MJHL win. Waywayseecappo goalie Tresor Wotton stopped 18.