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Balanced attack playing a key role in Oil Caps early season success

The Virden Oil Capitals are proving they’re not a one-line team in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this season.

The club boasts four players who are currently averaging more than a point-per-game as centre Tyler Kirkup leads the club in scoring with 12 goals, 14 assists for 26 points, while right-winger Jeran Knorr is just two points behind (11 goals, 13 assists). Left-winger Kyle Salaway has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) while blueliner Tristen Cross is off to a great start offensively as well with four goals and 19 assists for 23 points.

The balance offensively doesn’t stop there. Forwards Kolten Kanaski and Kirklan Lycar (19 points), Dylan Thiessen (18 points) and defenceman Justin Lee (17 points) are providing plenty of offensive prowess.

“We know how important it is to have contributions from players throughout the lineup and we’re getting that this season,” said head Coach and GM Troy Leslie. “This bodes well for us as we head into late November and into December where games will get that much more difficult to play in as teams clamp down defensively. We need all players on board and contributing if we’re going to be successful.”

Leslie says the club has had a lot of success in terms of getting different players to step up at different times throughout the season thus far.

“We’re going to need that to continue if we’re to have success the rest of the way.”

Jamie Hodson, director of business and hockey operations, says a more balanced attack was an emphasis for the club this season.

“Depth is of vital importance if you want to contend in the MJHL and we feel we’re building a team that can compete and hopefully contend for a league championship this year and moving forward.”

Hodson credits the veteran leadership on the club but is cognizant of the club’s youth that’s also playing a key role in the club’s early season success – this includes Lee, who was recently named the league’s rookie of the month for October.