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Playoff bound Oil Caps battling for seeding

A pair of victories over the Selkirk Steelers last week helped the Virden Oil Capitals clinch a playoff berth.

While the Oil Caps know they will be competing in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League postseason, they are still fighting to get the best seed they can. As of Monday, the team (34-20-1-0) trailed the Swan Valley Stampeders (34-16-5-1) by six points, 74-69, for first place in the MGEU West Division. The second place Oil Caps were just one point ahead of the OCN Blizzard (31-19-2-4) and three above the Dauphin Kings (31-21-2-2).

“I think we have to continue to have the mindset of hard work and structure,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “It has been successful to this point, but we also know games will get tougher. Our group has confidence in each other and that can be a powerful thing at this time of the season.”

The Oil Caps wrap up their regular season schedule with three contests this week. They played in Waywayseecappo on Tuesday and hosted the Stampeders on Thursday. The Oil Caps are on the road on Friday.

The Oil Caps won 2-1 on the road on Friday and dispatched the Steelers, 6-2, at home on Sunday last week.

“I thought we defended very well in both games,” Ramsey said. “Our team defence was very efficient. Our forwards did a good job tracking. Our defencemen did a great job of defending the rush and moving the puck out of our zone and (goalie Owen) LaRocque was very solid.”

Colten Miller scored the game winner for Virden in a 2-1 victory on Friday at the 10:29 mark in the third period. Roux Bazin had given the Oil Caps a 1-0 first period lead with a powerplay goal. The Steelers tied things up in the second with a powerplay goal of their own from Brandon Ambrozik.

Oil Caps goalie Owen LaRocque made 36 saves. Hunter Tarves stopped 24 shots for Selkirk.

 At home on Sunday, the Oil Capitals outscored the Steelers in each period on the way to a 6-2 victory. Virden led 3-1 and 4-1 at the intermissions. The Oil Caps were two-for-two on the powerplay.

Nolan Chastko led Virden with two goals and had three points. Also scoring for the victorious hosts were Layton Veitch, Ethan Guthrie, Miller and Dean Gorchynski. Josh Lehto finished with three assists. LaRocque stopped 34 shots.

Joel Purdom and Owen Weihs had Selkirk’s goals. Tarves made 31 saves.

Oil Cap Davis Chorney and Selkirk’s Ethan Brown dropped the gloves in the third period. Andrew Blocker was the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Chastko was named the Twin Valley Co-op first star and Lehto was the second star. Bazin, who had an assist, earned third star honours. Gorchynski played in his 100th MJHL contest.

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