The Oil Caps effort was never in question on Thursday night but unfortunately for the home team, the bounces didn’t go their way as Virden dropped a 3-2 decision to the Steinbach Pistons at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.
For the Oil Caps, it was a case of missed opportunities as the club had several chances to tie the game in the third period. After Jack Johnson scored to make it 3-1 for the Pistons at the 12:50 mark, Landyn Cochrane’s second of the year cut that lead to just one less than a minute later. After that however, the Oil Capitals – despite outshooting Steinbach 15-6 in the final 20 minutes (32-25 overall) – just couldn’t find a way to beat Pistons netminder Matthew Thiessen for a third time.
“It was a tight game through and through,” said Oil Caps veteran forward Tyler Kirkup. “I’m really proud of the effort the team put in. We battled hard. We got a couple goals but just couldn’t bury the last one.”
“We definitely outworked them,” said Oil Caps forward Landyn Cochrane. “We hit a couple crossbars. If we were able to bury a couple of those chances, it would’ve been different, but we’ll build off this one.”
The Pistons opened the scoring as William Koop netted his 16th of the year on the power play at the 15:31 mark of the first period. The Oil Caps would respond in the second as Jayden Wojciechowski scored his first of the season (15:28 mark), however the cheers were short-lived as Steinbach quickly came back as Brendan Martin picked up his seventh of the campaign to make it 2-1 after 40 minutes.
“The boys were pretty excited,” Kirkup said regarding Wojciechowski’s first goal. “We were jumping up and down on the bench. It was good for him to get that.”
Oil Caps head coach and GM Troy Leslie agreed with his players’ sentiments. He liked what he saw from his group tonight.
“I thought we deserved a better fate tonight. You’re going to have that kind of game against them all the time. It’s going to be tight. Obviously we want the win, we want the two points, they’re important but we’ve got to take some positives out of this and learn from this one.”
The night was also the return of Riley McVeigh between the pipes for Virden from an injury he suffered earlier this month.
“For his first game back I thought he was solid,” Leslie said.
It was a special night that saw more than 960 people fill the seats for Ag Appreciation Night as Oil Caps players wore special ag-themed third jerseys for the game. The jerseys were put in a silent auction during the contest with some of the proceeds going to local 4-H clubs.
The night also featured a special pregame ceremony as well as live entertainment from local band Prairie Joe.
Next up for the Oil Caps: another home game tomorrow night against the Winnipeg Blues. Puck drop for that contest is shortly after 7:30 p.m.