This week the Virden Oil Capitals and Winkler Flyers continue to battle in the first round of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The sixth seeded Oil Caps took game one with a dramatic 1-0 double overtime victory. The Flyers, the No. 3 seed, evened the series at 1-1 with a 6-3 win in game two. Game three of the best-of-seven series was set for Winkler on Tuesday with game four in Virden on Thursday.
“The focus will be to continue the things that made us successful all year,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “We are at our best when we are skating and we are physical.”
Game five will take place Saturday in Winkler. If needed, Virden hosts the sixth contest on Monday. A seventh and final game would be played on Tuesday in Winkler.
Oil Caps 1, Flyers 0 2OT
It was not until just over two minutes into the second overtime period on March 6 that either team scored. With the Flyers on a powerplay, Jack Einarson was able to get the puck past Winkler goalie Dorrin Luding.
“(Brett) Paddock and I were out, and he made a nice play to steal the puck and got it to me going down the ice,” Einarson said. “I took a shot and got stopped and just followed up for the rebound to bury it.”
Luding made 38 saves, while Oil Caps netminder Ethan Peterson stopped all 58 shots he faced. When asked about his success, Peterson said:
“I like to play in games where I see a lot of shots. It helps to get into a rhythm early on and maintain my play. Also, we played a very strong game as a team. Everyone was doing their jobs, which always helps, so I got to give credit to the defenceman and forwards.”
Ramsey emphasised his team played with speed and defended well.
Flyers 6, Oil Caps 3
After Winkler took a 2-0 lead less than a minute and 30 seconds into the contest on March 8, the host Oil Caps scored three straight goals – two on the powerplay – before the game was five and a half minutes old. Einarson, Owen Blocker, and Jaxon Heeney had Virden’s goals. Winkler tied things up at 3-3 just before the first period ended.
After the Virden first period outburst, Winkler brought Dylan Meilun on in relief of Luding. The Oils Caps were not able to score from that point on as the Flyers goalie made 43 saves. Winkler scored twice in the second period and added an empty goal in the third.
“In game two, I thought we were a little inconsistent with moving our feet and we gave them too much time and space to work with,” Ramsey said.