Oil Caps battle back to defeat OCN in first game of back-to-back

The Virden Oil Capitals battled back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the OCN Blizzard 6-4 on Friday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.

The powerplay played a key role for Virden tonight as the club wound up going four for eight with the man advantage. The Oil Caps also outshot OCN 41-24 on the night.

“I thought we were pretty good as a whole group,” said head coach and GM Troy Leslie. “I thought we had good performances right through the lineup.”

The Blizzard opened the scoring at the 4:26 mark of the first period before Kyle Salaway replied approximately six minutes later. OCN would quickly respond however to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes of play.

After the Blizzard scored a little over three minutes in the second, Josh Belcher scored his first MJHL goal a little more than 30 seconds later to cut the Blizzard’s lead in half.

“What I liked about it is that he went in and he made a good hard play and finished a check and went to the net and got rewarded,” Leslie said of Belcher’s goal. “I thought he was very good tonight.”

“It’s good to get it off my back,” said Belcher, who had his family come out to watch the game tonight. “I can play with more confidence now for sure.”

Ben Dalke continued his great start to the season late in the period as the veteran forward netted his first of two goals in the game at the 15:28 mark to tie the score at three. In the third, Dylan Thiessen scored less than a minute into the frame to give the Oil Caps their first lead – and it’s a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Dalke scored his seventh goal of the season just a few minutes later to make it 5-3.

OCN would respond a little after the nine minute mark to make it 5-4 however that’s as close as they’d come on this night. Kolten Kanaski would ice the game with a little over a minute to play. Riley McVeigh stopped 20 of 24 shots between the pipes to pick up the win.

The Oil Caps will now look to win Game 2 of the back-to-back on Saturday night in Virden. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

“I think tomorrow is going to be the big test for us,” Leslie said. “They’re obviously a team that can score and can score in bunches so we’ve got to make sure we come into tomorrow night’s game ready to play and making sure that we’re ready on the defensive side of the puck. If we can start to manage the defensive side of the puck better we’re going to be a pretty decent team.”