PORTAGE, MB- Dylan Halliday scored the shootout winner, and Ryley Gross stopped 32 as the Oil Caps erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to claim a 4-3 victory
In the opening frame, the Oil Capitals found themselves behind the eight ball early. 3:05 into the period, after a mad scramble in front of the net the Terriers, managed to bank one in off of Oil Caps goaltender Ryley Gross, who was making his MJHL debut. Then moments later, the Terriers struck again. With defenceman Sam Mitani in the penalty box for cross-checking, the Terriers made the Oil Caps pay, making it 2-0 on the man-advantage. The Oil Caps came close to cutting the lead in half, but Dylan Halliday rang one off the pipe. The Terriers got another chance to add to the lead when Owen Blocker was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference, but the Oil Caps successfully killed it off. Gross stopped 11/13 in the first period, as the home side had the advantage in the shot department 13-12.
The Oil Caps had a better start to the second period than they did the first. Roux Bazin got the team on the board with his first MJHL goal, as he found himself wide open in the slot and ripped it past the Portage goaltender to cut the lead in half. A turning point in the second period was the Terriers 4:00 penalty kill; the Oil Caps had multiple chances to tie the score but failed to convert. The Terriers got another powerplay when Conor Geekie got the gate for holding, and immediately the Terriers got that two-goal lead back. After two saves by Gross, the Terriers were able to jam home the loose puck to make it 3-1. Then things got very chippy. Owen Blocker was assessed a checking from behind penalty and game misconduct, while Terriers got a cross-checking penalty for retaliation and a bench minor. Which meant the Oil Caps got a powerplay, But they were unable to convert.
In the third period, with the Oil Caps trailing 3-1, they began the comeback. After a flurry of chances, the Oil Caps finally cut the lead in half; Braeden Lewis was the recipient of a fortunate bounce, as he took a Halliday shot off the pad and ripped it home to make it 3-2. Then after a penalty kill, Belcher tied the game, putting a two-on-one bid five-hole. The rest of regulation and overtime solved nothing and needed a sudden death shootout to find a winner.
The Oil Caps shot first, and Cloutier got the team on the board. The Terriers answered with a goal of their own. Then it was Einarson up next in the shootout, and he was unsuccessful. Portage scored on their next opportunity. That meant it was up to 16-year-old Conor Geekie to extend the game… and he did just that, roofing a backhand top shelf to extend the shootout. Ryley Gross made a pad stop to keep the Oil Caps alive on the next Portage chance. The following Oil Cap to hop over the boards was Dylan Halliday. He made a move to the forehand, and outwaited Fines and snuck it past the pad. With Gross needing a save to give the Oil Caps a win, Portage missed the net, and the Oil Caps escaped with a 4-3 Victory in the shootout.
Halliday had this to say after the game.
“To be honest, I was hoping not to lose the puck,” chuckled Halliday. “I was fortunate to put one in and help the team win. It was a big win for the team,” added Halliday.
Head Coach Tyson Ramsey had this to say on the come from behind win.
“I thought it was really two different games tonight; I didn’t like our first 40 minutes,” said Ramsey. “We were too soft and too slow and tried to force things that weren’t there. Our team defence was poor, and we were undisciplined. Then in the third, our guys were able to settle down and do things within our structure, and it created some opportunities that we were able to capitalize on. Ryley Gross did a good job in his first game and held us in and really happy for Roux Bazin and Braeden Lewis getting their first goals as Oil Caps. I have to give our guys credit for battling hard right to the end, and at the end of the day, we got two big points on the road in a hard building to win in.
With the win, the Oil Caps move to 3-0-1 on the season and remain undefeated in regulation. They will be back in action next weekend, with a home and home against the Winkler Flyers.