VIRDEN, MB– The Oil Capitals scored four powerplay goals and erased a 3-1 deficit for the second consecutive game to skate to a 5-3 win over the Winkler Flyers. This was the first meeting between the two sides since last March in the MJHL Playoffs. The Oil Caps had a 2-1 series advantage when the season came crashing down due to the Coronavirus.
In the first period, the Oil Caps, a lot like last Sunday in Portage, found themselves down early. Just four minutes into the opening frame, former Oil Cap Tanner Andrew began to put his stamp on the game in his return to Tundra Oil & Gas Place. Andrew picked up an assist on Jayden McCarthy’s opening marker to make it 1-0 Winkler. The Flyers had a chance to extend the lead when Owen Blocker got the gate for hooking, but the Oil Caps killed it off. The Flyers had a 1-0 lead after the first period and outshot the Oil Caps 12-4.
In the middle frame, Winkler struck early again. It was Andrew again beating Kozma glove side to extend the lead to 2-0. Moments later, the Oil Caps got their first powerplay of the game, and they capitalized. Just as the man advantage was about to expire, Owen Blocker snapped a shot and beat Flyer’s goaltender Reid Dyck glove side to bring the Oil Caps within one. Then at the midway mark of the second period, Andrew scored his second of the night, and the third point of the game, to extend the lead to 3-1. Then the comeback started for the Oil Caps. Just like in Portage six days ago, the Oil Caps found themselves down 3-1, needing a spark. Trevor Hunt ripped one off the post and in to bring the Oil Caps back within one heading into the third period. The Oil Caps dominated the middle frame outshooting Winkler 18-6.
In the final frame, the pace picked up, and shoving matchups after whistles; the rivalry was officially renewed! At the eight-minute mark of the third period, the game changed on a dime. With the Flyers leading 3-2, Conor Geekie hit Jayden McCarthy hard into the boards; McCarthy took matters into his own hands, jumping Geekie and started uppercutting the 16-year old. After it was all set and done, the Oil Caps found themselves on a SEVEN-minute powerplay. The home side went quickly to work. After some excellent puck movement, Logan Rands found Hunter Cloutier in the right circle, and he wired it home to tie the game. Josh Belcher found some space to the right of the net and beat Dyck under the arm to make it 4-3. Just 43 seconds later, Tyler Thoendel jammed home a loose puck home to make it 5-3. Four powerplay goals on eight tries was the difference in the hockey game.
Josh Belcher, who scored the game-winning goal, had his to say after the game.
“This was a big win for our team,” said Belcher. “To comeback again down 3-1 showed a lot of resiliency, and it was nice to capitalize on the powerplays; we were able to turn the game around”, added Belcher.
The Oil Caps moved to 4-0-1 on the season with the win and moved into first place in the Interior Division.
The Oil Caps will now hit the road tonight in Winkler as they look to extend their winning streak to four in a row. Puck drop is set for 7:30.