In the offseason, Virden Oil Capitals forward Jack Einarson likes to switch his hockey stick for a golf club.
“I love to golf during the summer,” said the Gimli product, who placed third in the high school golf provincials. “It helps get my mind off of just being committed to one sport and gives me a little break.”
Einarson has returned to the ice firmly focused on helping the Oil Capitals. Last week the Virden team won a pair of games. The victories doubled the Oil Capitals’ win total and improved the team’s record to 4-9-1-4.
“We had some things go our way last week,” head coach Troy Leslie said. “With the string of home games coming up in November, we hope we can build on it.”
In his second season, Einarson has matched the five goals he posted last winter. With 12 points in 18 games, the 18-year-old is closing in on the 14 he accumulated in 47 games a season ago.
When asked about his offensive performance, Einarson said:
“My season has started strong here and I think it’s because of how many chances I’ve been given, such as power play and more ice time five-on-five, so I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Leslie foresees even more production in the future.
“He sees the ice well. He is a good playmaker,” Leslie said. “He has a good offensive touch. With time and experience, I think he will become more dynamic offensively.”
On Thursday, the Oil Caps started a five-game home stand by hosting Winnipeg. The Dauphin Kings come to town forSpecial Services Appreciation Night on Saturday. On Nov. 15, the squad hosts Steinbach to cap the team’s Agriculture Summit day.
Hunter Cloutier was named the Virden and Reston Drugs Player of the Month for October. He had eight goals and 14 points in the first 16 games of the season.
Members of the Oil Capitals got to meet country star Brett Kissel. They helped unload equipment for his Aud Theatre show.
Defenceman Thomas Brassard was traded home to Thunder Bay for future considerations. Goalie Tyler Thompson was swapped to Dryden for futures as well.
Pleased with his team’s consistency last week, Leslie acknowledged winning two straight games helped its confidence.
“It was great to have a bit of success. The early part of the year I think we have had some bad luck,” Leslie said. “You have to work through that. I think we have done a good job of that.”
On Oct. 30, the Oil Capitals fell, 6-3, to Selkirk on the road. Hunter Cloutier, McCullough Park, and Parker Brakebill scored for Virden.
The next night the Oil Caps bounced back with an offensive explosion to drop Neepawa, 7-3, in a special Halloween night contest. Ben Dalke and Virden’s own Tanner Andrew each had two goals. Also scoring were Einarson, Cloutier, and Dylan Halliday. Oak Lake’s Riley Wallace made 27 saves.
“It was nice to get the ball rolling and get a couple goals,” Andrew said. “It helped being in the right place at the right time a couple times and some nice passes from Belch (Josh Belcher) helped me notch a couple goals.”
The Oil Capitals continued their strong week by beating Winkler, 3-2, at home on Nov. 3. Cloutier, Brakebill, and Blake Sidoni had Virden’s goals. Dalton Dosch had 35 saves.
On the road on Nov. 4, the team fell, 3-1, to the Steinbach Pistons. Logan Rands’ first of the season was Virden’s lone goal. Dosch had 41 saves.