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Twenty-year-olds lead Oil Caps to MJHL finals

The Virden Oil Capitals’ group of 2002-born veterans have led the team to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League finals.

The squad has five players who are in their final junior season. The quintet – four forwards and a defenceman – are counted on for leadership as well as strong play. They have helped a talented young group succeed.

“Our 20-year-old group has been very good for us on and off the ice,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said earlier this season. “They lead our group in terms of work ethic and all five of them have been contributors to our team success. They understand what it takes to be successful in this league and before the new year they were our best players in a tough stretch and really helped our young guys get through some adversity and as a result they came back after the Christmas break ready to compete for a playoff spot. They have been tremendous role models and our group has learned a lot from them.”

Manson’s Bray Rookes has played four seasons on the Oil Capitals’ blue line. In his rookie campaign, then captain Kolten Kanaski, helped set a tone that Rookes and others have tried to carry on.

“Kanaski and the 20-year-old crew provided a sense that nobody is too good to work,” Rookes said. “They were the oldest, most skilled guys but some of the hardest working. Showing nothing in life is handed to you, you got to work for it.”

Rookes had two goals and nine points in 57 games in the regular season. In 13 playoff games, he has matched that goal total and has three points, as of Sunday.

Colten Miller, a forward who hails from Killarney, is in his third season with the team. In the regular season, he was fourth on the team in both points (38) and goals (15). During the playoffs, Miller has five goals and eight points.

Captain Brody Wilson was traded to the Oil Caps last season. From Birtle, the forward recorded 11 goals and 24 points in 57 games. Through 13 postseason contests, he has four points.

Davis Chorney and Andrew Blocker were acquired by the Oil Caps in the offseason. Hailing from Nipawin, Sask., Chorney provided scoring punch (tied with Miller with 15 goals) and toughness (team-high 141 penalty minutes). He had 29 points. Chorney has three playoff points, as of Sunday.

Blocker, a Cooks Creek product, has been lighting the lamp in the playoffs. He has five goals through 15 games. In the regular season, Blocker had 11 goals and 22 points in 53 games.

The 2002-born players are pleased to have spent at least part of their junior careers in Virden.

“The community is awesome,” Miller said. “They have been a huge part of us this season and every season that I’ve been here. They come out and support us each night. Even when we had a bit of tough stretch, they stuck by us and believed in us.”




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