The Oil Caps wrapped up their regular season with a big win over the visiting Dauphin Kings on Saturday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.
Four goals scored late in the first period helped propel the home team to a 6-2 win on what was Fan Appreciation Night, and in the process, clinch second place in the MJHL standings. Virden will now battle the Selkirk Steelers in round one of the MJHL playoffs.
“I felt like we came out strong, especially at the end of the first and kind of just took the game over from there,” said Oil Caps forward Jeran Knorr.
Oil Caps blueliner Tristen Cross opened the scoring at the 17:07 mark of the first period before Rylee Zimmer made it 2-0 for Virden just 41 seconds later. Josh Belcher would then keep the good vibes going for the Oil Caps, making it 3-0 at the 18:04 mark before Tyler Kirkup’s league-leading 40th goal of the season at 19:14 gave Virden a four-goal advantage after 20 minutes.
“It felt unreal,” said Kirkup regarding his 40th goal he scored tonight. “All the guys congratulated me and it’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in junior hockey.”
The Kings would respond however as Brendan Arnold would score twice – once in the second period at 10:56 and again at the 9:08 mark of the third – to make it 4-2. That’s as close as Dauphin would come on this night as Jack Einarson and Kyle Salaway netted tallies later in the final frame (13:58 and 18:52 respectively) to ice the game for the home team.
Riley McVeigh picked up his 26th win of the season in net for Virden, while Brennan Kitchen took the loss between the pipes for Dauphin.
With the win, the Oil Caps picked up their 40th win of the season, finishing the 2017-2018 campaign with a 40-17-2-1 record. Now that the playoffs are just around the corner, both Knorr and Kirkup are excited for what’s to come.
“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time and we’re playing well,” Knorr said.
“I think all the guys are excited to get started,” Kirkup added.
We’ll have more information on the playoff series with Selkirk posted soon.
- The Twin Valley Co-op three stars tonight: No. 1 – Tyler Kirkup (one goal); No. 2 – Kolten Kanaski (two assists); No. 3 – Brendan Arnold of the Kings (two goals).
- The Redfern Farm Services hardest worker tonight was No. 10 Marco Creta.