Hunter Cloutier has certainly enjoyed the start of his third season with the Virden Oil Capitals.
A skilled forward who turns 19 in December, Cloutier was second in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League scoring race as of Sunday. He had helped the Oil Caps to a 5-2-1-1 record and fourth place in the league standings. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder from Winning has played a major role so far this season.
“When he competes hard and is engaged in the game, he is one of the premier forwards in the league,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “He is a great kid off the ice and we are real happy to have him on our team.”
As of Sunday, Cloutier paced the Oil Caps with 12 points in nine games. He was just a point behind league scoring leader Joey Moffatt of Portage. His six goals were one behind team leader Kolten Kanaski, who was tied for the league lead.
“Hunter is having a great start,” Ramsey said. “He has a real ability to score goals, which is something that just comes naturally to him. He shoots the puck real well and is a big part of our power play.”
Cloutier has spent time on different Oil Caps lines. He has found himself skating with long-time linemates Jack Einarson and Josh Belcher as well as Kanaski, Brett Paddock and Hunter Andrew.
“I’ve been able to find some chemistry with my linemates, which has helped me be successful putting the puck in the net and I’ve also been trying to shoot the puck more, which has led to scoring more goals,” he said.
Along with the wins and goals, Cloutier has enjoyed the people he is surrounded by this season.
“I think we have a great group of guys on the team this year and just coming to the rink everyday to hang out with them and be around them is the most enjoyable part, especially since we’re having success as a team,” he said.
Since coming to Virden for the 2017-2018 season, Cloutier has billeted with Jack and Karen Forster.
“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Jack and Karen are the best billets anyone could ask for. They make me feel so at home with them.”