Veteran forward Kolten Kanaski is leading the way early this hockey season for the Virden Oil Capitals.
The 19-year-old from Beausejour paced the Oil Caps in goals with five in seven games, as of Sunday. The third-year player was tied with second-year men Jack Einarson and Hunter Cloutier in points with eight. Head coach Troy Leslie said Kanaski has been solid this season and, in regard to scoring, he knows how to go to the dirty areas of the ice.
“He’s not afraid to go to those areas,” Leslie said. “He’s strong and he shoots the puck very well.”
Entering this week, Kanaski led the Oil Caps with an average of 1.14 points per game. When asked about his points production, Kanaski said, “Linemates are your best friends when playing hockey. Having good ones makes putting up points that much easier.”
Kanaski often skates on lines with Ben Dalke, Brett Paddock, or Hunter Cloutier. However, he is not just counted on for points. The 200-foot forward often plays on the penalty kill with Paddock.
The Oil Capitals also look for his leadership as an assistant captain.
“He is a presence definitely,” Leslie said of the 5-foot-10, 187-pounder. “When he is playing his game and leading by example, he drags the team along with him.”
While Kanaski has a year of junior hockey eligibility remaining after this season, he has already given some thought to his future. His father is a police officer and Kanaski is interested in both law enforcement and practicing law.
“I would love to be a lawyer but, in the end, if I decide that being a lawyer is too much, you can bet your money that I will be putting on a badge just like him. I have always been intrigued by law enforcement. They are the guys that people look up to and treat with a great deal of respect.”
The Oil Capitals lost 5-3 to Winkler on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and were scheduled to play in Winnipeg on Thursday after press time. This weekend, the team hosts Portage on Sunday.
While the 2-4-0-3 Oil Capitals were unable to get a win last week, Leslie said:
“There are a lot of positives going on. It is a matter of putting it all together… We just need to continue to get better.”
The Oil Caps entered last week with their power play producing at 13 per cent. Entering this week, it was up to 20. The Virden penalty kill remains strong.
On Saturday, at home, Virden fell 3-2 in a shootout. The Oil Capitals led Winkler 1-0 after a second period goal by Kanaski. In the third, the Flyers scored two straight goals to take the lead. Ben Dalke lit the lamp on the power play to send the game to overtime. In the shootout, both Flyer shooters were able to score but the Oil Caps could not answer. Virden goalie Dalton Dosch made 32 saves, while Riley Morgan had 27 for Winkler.
In a game filled with goals, Portage got by Virden, 7-5, last Friday. The game was tied 2-2 after the first period. The host Terriers led 5-4 at the second intermission. Scoring for Virden were Dalke, Einarson, Cloutier, Josh Belcher, and Virden’s own Tanner Andrew. Oil Caps goalie Tyler Thompson recorded 34 saves. Miles Minor stopped 16 shots for the Terriers.
Dalke Wins Award
Dalke received the Oil Capitals’ Cole Hamblin Memorial Playoff MVP Award in recognition of his strong play in last season’s playoffs. Dalke had eight goals and 12 points in 15 games during Virden’s run to the 2018 Manitoba Junior Hockey League finals.
“I’ve never met Cole, but I’ve heard from a lot of people what a fantastic person he was,” Dalke said. “I am extremely grateful and truly honoured to win this award in his name.”
Hamblin played the 2013-2014 season in Virden. He passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer.
Sambrook to WHL
Oil Caps defenceman Garrett Sambrook has joined the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos. The major junior squad acquired his rights on Friday from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Medora product joined Virden from the Wheat Kings last season and helped the squad make it to the league finals.