Torrin Grange is intercepted by teammates after scoring the overtime winner on Saturday night.
Torrin Grange scored the game winning goal at the 4:05 mark of the first overtime period on Saturday night to clinch the MJHL quarter final series in game six against the Winkler Flyers.
It was the biggest crowd of the series on Saturday night at Tundra Oil & Gas Place with 1,244 spectators in attendance to watch the action. The Oil Caps used the energy from the crowd in the early going and got a goal from Zach Whitecloud that found its way past Flyers starter, Dasan Sydora, 1:44 into the contest. The lead proved to only temporary as the Flyers buried a power play goal midway through the period to tie the game at 1-1 after the first.
Lucas Oliver restored the Oil Caps lead in the second when he went in and picked a corner for his third goal of the playoffs. Jordan Greig and Corey Haverstick drew assists on the goal who helped give the Oil Caps a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
As the third period progressed, every offensive attempt that the Flyers tried to generate would be quickly distinguished by the Oil Caps defenders, not allowing Winkler to build momentum for their final push. A majority of the final five minutes were played in the neutral zone. That was until the Flyers gained possession of the puck below the Oil Caps goal line in the final minute which led to Whitecloud taking a tripping penalty on one of the Winkler forwards.
Virden looked poised to kill off the penalty for the win, but the Flyers’ Scott Gall hammered a puck through the crowd that redirected its way past Sean Kuehn to tie the game at 2-2 with just 19 seconds left in regulation.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Oil Caps faithful, but it seemed only fitting that the game was once again going to be decided in overtime – a series that had already seen three games go to overtime.
Virden advanced to the second round for the second time in two years.
In the extra frame, it was all Virden as they outshot the Flyers 5-0 in the 4:05 of overtime that was played. The line of Kurt Johnas, Torrin Grange, andMack Hardy were in on the attack where at one point all three were behind the Flyers net. Grange quickly acknowledged the situation and faded out into the slot. Hardy remained in the puck battle behind the net when Johnas came in and grabbed ahold of the loose puck. A quick pass by Johnas to Grange, who found some open ice inside the top of the circle, one-timed home a bullet into the upper half of the net to give Virden a 3-2 win and a 4-2 series win over the Flyers.
Grange was a bit of an unlikely hero for the Oil Caps who posted just one goal in 22 regular season games. However, the overtime winner was his second goal in five playoff games and has been playing his best hockey with the club since being acquired from Nipawin in December.
The Oil Caps finished the night with 42 shots on goal while Kuehn turned aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Virden was 0-for-8 with the man advantaged while the Flyers were 2-for-3.
Zach Whitecloud and Winkler’s Cam Whyte pay their respects during the traditional post-series handshakes.
Virden will now move onto the MJHL semi finals where they will take on the RBC Cup hosts, the Portage Terriers. The Terriers swept the Waywayseecappo in their first round series and have been idle since last Wednesday when the series wrapped up in four games. Game one of the semi finals will be on Wednesday night in Portage with game two of the series being played on Friday evening in Virden. The complete playoff schedule will be released on Monday.
Tickets for the semi final matchup will go on sale on Monday after the schedule is released. Season ticket holders will have until Wednesday at noon to purchase their tickets for games two and four of the series before they become open to everyone online after the Wednesday deadline.