On Sunday, the league announced the fourth-year Oil Caps head coach and general manager as the winner of the Muzz MacPherson Memorial Award. The other nominees were the OCN Blizzard’s Doug Johnson, Justin Falk of the Winkler Flyers, and the Swan Valley Stampeders’ Barry Wolff. As of Sunday, Ramsey had led his youth-laden team to a 32-20-1-0 record.
“I am very honoured to receive the award obviously, especially when it is voted on by the other coaches and GMs in the league,” said Ramsey, who also has been a scout and assistant coach for the Junior A team. “I am very humbled, but I also have tremendous support here and our guys have really bought in and have done an exceptional job on and off the ice. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such great people. This is most definitely a team award and not just a me award.”
The Oil Caps enter the week tied for second in the MGEU West Division with the OCN Blizzard (30-19-2-3) with 65 points each. The Swan Valley Stampeders led the division with a 31-16-5-1 record and 68 points.
The Oil Capitals are on a four-game winning streak, as of Sunday. Last week they downed the Winnipeg Blues 4-3 in overtime and 5-2.
“We are just taking one game at a time, working hard trying to do the things that make us successful as a team and we’ll see where that takes us,” Oil Caps captain Brody Wilson said. “Of course, the playoffs are always a goal you have as a team every season and all our players would love to be there and see how far we could go, but, like I said, right now we are just focusing on the task at hand each and every night.”
The Steve “Boomer” Hawrysh Award for league MVP went to Lucas Brennan, Selkirk Steelers. The other competition was Trent Sambrook, Winkler Flyers; Kobe Grant, Swan Valley Stampeders; and Travis Henrsrud, Steinbach Pistons. Sambrook won the Brian Kozak Memorial Award, which goes to the MJHL’s top defenceman. The other finalists are Adam Rajsigl, Swan Valley Stampeders; Kian Calder, Portage Terriers; and Aidan Brook, Dauphin Kings.
Swan Valley’s Kobe Grant won the Ed Belfour Top Goaltender Award. His fellow nominees are Dominik Wasik, Steinbach Pistons; Tresor Wotton, Waywayseecappo Wolverines; and Malachi Klassen, Winkler Flyers.
Carter Cormier of the Selkirk Steelers won Kim Davis Rookie of the Year award. Also nominated were Luke Janus, Winnipeg Blues; Zach Nicolas, Winkler Flyers; and Warren Clark. Steinbach Pistons.
Virden homegrown netminder Eric Reid was selected as the MJHL’s Original 16 Goaltender of the Month for February. In seven games, Reid earned six wins. He had a 1.71 goals against average and a .941 save percentage.
On Friday night in Virden, Dean Gorchynski lifted the Oil Caps to 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Blues with an overtime goal.
“(Ethan) Guthrie made a great play grabbing the loose puck and springing me on a breakaway,” Gorchynski said. “I had lots of time and was able to beat the goaltender over the shoulder. It felt great to score that goal and get two points after the Blues had tied it up late in the third.”
Kai Elkie of the Blues scored in the last two minutes of the third period to knot the contest at 3-3. Virden had trailed 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 early in the second frame. Nolan Chastko scored twice in the second period with a Wilson goal sandwiched in between to put the Oil Caps up 3-2. Reid had 34 saves.
For Winnipeg, River Leslie-Toogood made 23 saves. Elkie had two goals, while his teammate Michael Tanchak also scored.
Gorchynski was the Gardewine Hardest Working Player. Chastko was the Twin Valley Co-op first star of the game. Elkie was the second star with Reid being honored with the third.
The Oil Caps came back with a strong performance on Saturday night in Winnipeg. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period. The visitors from Virden outscored the Blues 4-1 the rest of the way to win 5-2. That included a three-goal outburst.
“I think we just have a real confidence in ourselves right now,” Ramsey said. “Their team came out real strong and I thought we did a good job of managing that speed in particular in the second period. We played a heavy game in their end of the rink and were able to get some pucks to the net with traffic and I liked our compete at the net front. It was a good win for our group.”
Roux Bazin led Virden with two goals. Also scoring for the Oil Caps were Chastko, Guthrie, and Brett Sabel. Bazin had three points, while defenceman Bray Rookes from Manson recorded two assists. Owen LaRocque made 26 saves for the Oil Caps. Virden sent 39 shots at the Blues’ Brock Moroz, who stopped 34 of them. Moroz is a former Oil Caps’ draft pick who saw some playoff action with them in 2019. Scoring for Winnipeg were Brandon Funk and Ryland Kuczek.