The Virden Oil Capitals and Waywayseecappo Wolverines are battling for playoff seeding.
As of Sunday, the two teams were tied in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League standings with 56 points. Due to league criteria, the Wolverines were fifth with a 25-20-4-2 record, while Virden sat one spot behind at 26-21-2-2.
Last week the Oil Capitals downed the Wolverines, 5-2, on the road on Feb. 4. Virden fell 7-3 on the road to Swan Valley on Feb. 8. This week the team played in Selkirk on Tuesday and will host Portage on Thursday. The Oil Caps are in Steinbach on Saturday.
Last week Virden and Waywayseecappo were knotted up at 2-2 after the first period. Josh Belcher lit the lamp twice for the Oil Caps. Goalie Ethan Peterson and the Oil Caps defence shut out the Wolverines the rest of the way. Virden product Hunter Andrew gave his squad a 3-2 second period lead before teammates Jaxon Heeney (shorthanded) and captain Kolten Kanaski (into an empty net) scored in the third.
“I thought in Wayway we really stuck with our structure,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “We were consistent with our effort and were really able to control where the game was headed. It was a real good effort by our guys.”
Belcher and Andrew each had three points on the night. Peterson stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Waywayseecappo goalie Colin Ahern had 21 saves.
At the intermissions on Feb. 8, the Oil Capitals trailed the host Stampeders by just a goal, 2-1 and 4-3. In the final period, Swan Valley outscored Virden 3-0 to take a 7-3 win.
“On Saturday, we weren’t as consistent as we needed to be,” Ramsey said. “The first period wasn’t our best. However, we got out of it down just a goal and then I thought our second period was good; and we just couldn’t hold the tie going into the third and gave up a late power play goal. Then in the third we just couldn’t sustain any pressure or keep any momentum we gained. Give their goalie credit, he played well.”
The Oil Caps fired 50 shots at Stamps netminder Mikael Foucher. He made 47 saves. Peterson stopped 27 shots. Scoring for Virden were Jack Einarson, Andrew, and Jayden Wojciechowski. Einarson had three points.
On Feb. 10, Andrew was named one of the MJHL Recycle Everywhere Stars of the Week for the previous week. He had two goals and five points in two games last week.
Oil Caps Notes
Former Oil Cap Zach Whitecloud was called up this month by the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights from the American Hockey League. A member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, the defenceman had a plus-3 rating through four games, as of Tuesday. … Oil Caps defenceman Darren Gisti played in his 200th MJHL game last week. … Future MJHL president Kevin Saurette will be the guest speaker at the Oil Caps annual banquet on Feb. 25.