After about six months away, the Virden Oil Capitals were back on the ice in a competitive way last week.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League team’s season was halted last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past week, the Oil Caps went 2-0 as it opened the exhibition season. The squad beat Waywayseecappo, 3-2, in overtime at home on Sept. 23. Last Sunday the Oil Caps romped past the Portage Terriers, 5-1, on the road.
“I think we saw in the first two games that our group has an ability to play the game at a high pace,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “When we do, I feel like we are a very good team but if we don’t, we can become average. So being consistent in this area is something we need to focus on.”
The Oil Capitals wrap up their exhibition season on Friday in Portage against the Terriers.
The Valleyview Co-Op Home Opener, as well as the team’s season opener, is set for Oct. 9 when they host Portage.
“The focus for the last game is just to see as many guys in certain situations as we can,” Ramsey said. “We are still evaluating our group and need this game to make some decisions about what our opening day roster will look like.”
Oil Caps 3, Wolverines 2 OT
Colin Cook was the OT hero as the Oil Caps thwarted the Terriers’ comeback attempt.
“It’s always great playing in front of your home crowd,” Cook said. “It’s been so long, it’s nice to be in that spot again.”
Virden took a 1-0 first period on a Josh Belcher goal. In the third, the Oil Caps went up 2-0 as Owen Blocker scored on the powerplay. Virden product Dexter Whittle earned one of the assists on the play.
However, the Wolverines scored twice to tie the contest. In OT, hometown goalie Eric Reid stopped both of Waywayseecappo’s shots before Cook scored.
Newcomer Riley Gross started for Virden and stopped all 15 shots he faced. Reid made 16 saves on 18 shots. Virden killed off all six of the Wolverines’ man advantage opportunities. The Oil Caps were able to convert on their one of their four powerplays.
Oil Caps 5, Terriers 1
Virden’s own Braeden Lewis led the way for the Oil Caps with three points – a goal and two assists - in a rout of the Terriers. The Oil Caps outshot the hosts, 45-20.
Virden led 2-0 after the first period and 5-0 at the second intermission. In addition to Lewis, Roux Bazin, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Teasdale and Tyler Thoendel scored for the visitors.
The Oil Caps scored on two of its three powerplay opportunities. They killed off all six of the Terriers’ powerplays.
Kyle Kozma started in net for the Oil Caps. He turned away all 11 shots he faced. Gross came on in the second period and made eight saves on nine shots.