The Virden Oil Capitals earned four out of a possible six points in the standings last week.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League team beat the Steinbach Pistons, 3-2, on the road Friday and 3-2 at home on Sunday. Before the weekend wins, the Oil Caps fell 5-2 to Portage on Jan. 11. The team is 4-1 since the MJHL’s Christmas break and 18-17-1-0 overall.
“It was certainly a total team effort right from our goaltender (Owen LaRocque), who was very, very solid, right through our lineup,” Oil Caps head coach Tyson Ramsey said of the victories over the Pistons. “We were very disciplined with our structure, work ethic and attitudes and we got contributions from everybody. It was some of the best hockey we have played this season. Our guys deserve full credit for buying in and getting the job done against a very good team.”
Last week Brad Charles was recognized as the Oil Capitals’ Volunteer of the Month for December, which is sponsored by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries. A longtime volunteer, Charles serves as one of the team’s goal judges.
Oil Caps 3, Pistons 2
At home on Sunday, Layton Veitch scored with less than four minutes remaining to lift his team to victory. Brett Sabel and Andrew Blocker scored in the first period to stake the hometown team to a 2-0 lead. The Pistons scored twice on the powerplay – once in the second period and then in the third – to tie the contest at 2-2. LaRocque made 31 saves. Cole Plowman stopped 26 shots for Steinbach. Scoring for the Pistons were Amsbaugh and Kirk Mullen.
Veitch’s heroics earned him the Twin Valley Co-op’s first star honours. LaRocque was the second star. Plowman earned the third star. Hometown product Ty Plaisier was named the Gardewine Hardest Working Player.
Oil Caps 3, Pistons 2
Captain Brody Wilson’s two second period goals Friday helped power the Oil Caps to a road victory. The teams were knotted at 1-1 after one with Blocker scoring for Virden. In the second session, Wilson scored twice on the powerplay as the Oil Capitals took a 3-1 lead. The Pistons got one goal back before the end of the second period, but the Virden squad held on. LaRocque stopped 35 of the 37 shots Steinbach sent his way.
Dominik Wasik made 24 saves for the Pistons. Steinbach’s scorers were Nicholas Mikan and Ian Amsbaugh.
Terriers 5, Oil Caps 2
In Portage, the teams were tied at 2-2 after the first period. The Terriers took the lead on a second period goal and added two more, including an empty net marker, in the third.
Scoring for Virden were Nolan Chastko, on a powerplay, and Blocker. Oil Caps goalie Eric Reid had 26 saves.
“I thought we played well against Portage, we battled hard and had some chances in the third period to put some pressure on them but just couldn't get one to go,” Ramsey said. “A couple lost assignments in our own zone led to some chances for them that they capitalized on. I thought it was a good effort by our guys and was a good step in the right direction moving into the weekend against Steinbach.”
Terriers netminder Jayden Catellier finished with 35 saves. Portage’s goals were scored by Parker Scherr, Ryan Botterill, Mike Stubbs, Kaden Kohle, and Daniel Siso.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League-Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Showcase will be held in Winnipeg Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Three teams from each league will compete. The Oil Caps will have four representatives at the event. Chastko, a forward, will suit up for MJHL 18U White. Dana Warrener will serve as an athletic therapist for that squad. Defenceman David Bielik will play for MJHL 20U Black. Tyson Ramsey will lead MJHL 20U Red.
At the national trade deadline on Jan. 10, the Oil Caps sent Parker Konneke to the Olds Grizzlys. The Alberta Junior Hockey League team swapped future consideration for the 18-year-old rookie forward. Konneke had two goals and six points in 19 games for Virden.
This week the Oil Caps take on the Niverville Nighthawks (19-15-1-2). The teams play in Virden on Friday and in Niverville on Sunday. On Jan. 25, the Oil Caps host the Selkirk Steelers.