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Oil Caps tangle with MJHL-leading Pistons

They pushed hard against the Swan Valley Stampeders looking for a win...
#25 Roux Bazin fights for the puck, #10 Joey Bielik and #11Nicholas Guberman (lower left) in position to play a loose puck at the point near Stampeders net.

The Virden Oil Capitals are preparing to tangle with the team that entered the week on top of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League standings.

As of Sunday, the Steinbach Pistons led the league in wins (19-4-0-0), winning percentage (.826) and points in the standings (38). The Pistons are in Virden on Friday. The two teams clash again on Sunday in Steinbach.

“The Pistons have obviously had a very good first half to this point,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “They play fast, they can be heavy, and they have some good skill. We will need to play with some pace, our structure will need to be solid and we will need to have a consistent effort from all 20 guys in the lineup.”

The Pistons boast three of the MJHL’s top five scorers. As of Monday, Davis Fry led the league with 39 points in 24 games. Travis Hensrud was fourth with 32 in 21 contests, while Ty Paisley was one spot behind with 32 in 24 games.

Last weekend the Oil Capitals fell 4-3 on the road on Friday to Swan Valley. At home on Saturday, the Virden team lost 6-2.

“I thought there were some very good things in both games,” Ramsey said. “At the end of the day, we weren't able to score, and it seemed our mistakes when we made them cost us on the scoreboard. We will take the good and build on that this week to be ready for a very good team in Steinbach.”

After last weekend, the Oil Caps were 12-13-0-0 and sat 10th in the MJHL with 24 points. The team could potentially quickly move up the standings as ninth-place Niverville was only a point away and eighth-place Neepawa only two points up.

On Dec. 1, MJHL teams have to cut down to 25 players. The Oil Caps are already below that number.

Stampeders 4, Oil Caps 3

On Friday, the Oil Capitals and Stampeders traded goals all night. Swan Valley led 2-1 after the first period, while the game was deadlocked at 3-3 at the second intermission. The Stampeders scored the lone goal of the third period to secure the win.

Naton Miller, Joey Bielik and Trevor Hunt scored for Virden. Bielik scored shorthanded to open the second period before Swan Valley responded with a shorthanded goal of their own. Virden goalie Eric Reid turned away 28 of the 32 shots he faced. Captain Brody Wilson recorded two assists.

The Stampeders’ Jakob Jones scored the game-winning goal. Collin Jennings had two goals for Swan Valley, while Justin Keck had one. Kobe Grant made 31 saves.

Stampeders 6, Oil Caps 2

Three goals in the third period on Saturday helped the Stampeders prevent an Oil Capitals’ comeback. Following a scoreless first period, Swan Valley outscored Virden 3-2 in the second. Dean Gorchynski and Josh Lehto had the Oil Caps’ goals. In the third, the Stamps reeled off three unanswered goals. Oil Caps goalie Owen LaRocque made 24 saves. Swan Valley was two-for-two on the powerplay, while Virden was one-for-four.

Grant had 36 saves. Trey Sauder scored twice for Swan Valley. The team’s other goals came from Jennings, Alex Walicki, Jones, and Noah Wilson.

As announced on the Oil Caps’ social media, Jennings was the Twin Valley Co-op first star with two points. Gorchynski was the second star with two points. Sauder’s three points earned him the third star. Josh Lehto was named the Gardewine Hardest Working Player.

Doug Roach was recognized by the team and Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries as the Volunteer of the Month. He has stepped in to help out with play-by-play duties this season.




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