Oil Caps edge Steelers, take early series lead

The Virden Oil Capitals have taken an early lead in their first round best-of-seven playoff series, defeating the Selkirk Steelers 4-3 on Saturday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.

“The game went well,” said Oil Caps forward Ben Dalke. “The boys were just kind of getting a feel of a playoff atmosphere. It was nice to get the win.”

The Oil Caps came out strong in the first period in front of their home fans as veteran forward Ben Dalke would score consecutive goals – his first tally coming early at 2:30 and his second of the night coming at 14:35 – making it 2-0 for the Oil Caps. The Steelers responded less than two minutes later however as Nico Labossiere fired one home with the man advantage (16:18) to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes.

The only goal scored in the middle frame came off the stick of a Steeler as Nate Halvorsen ended up finding the back of the net at the 1:31 mark.

In the third, Tyler Kirkup, the Oil Caps leading scorer in the regular season, would score unassisted at the 1:37 mark, helping Virden re-gain its one-goal advantage. Kyle Salaway’s power play marker would later make it 4-2 for the home team at 7:16 before Labossiere’s second of the night for Selkirk made it 4-3. The Oil Caps were able to lock it down defensively the rest of the way, and in the process, pick up a huge Game 1 victory.

“I thought we were good early and were able to get up a couple goals,” said Oil Caps head coach and GM Troy Leslie. “They (Steelers) worked hard to get themselves back in. That’s playoff hockey. I thought we stayed with it.”

Riley McVeigh picked up the win in net for Virden, making 30 saves, while Hayden Dola turned aside a whopping 50 shots in the loss for Selkirk.

“Obviously there were some ups and downs,”  said Oil Caps blueliner Morgan Magwood, who returned from injury tonight after missing a few games late in the regular season. “We started out really well and had a bit of a setback in the second period. We found our legs again in the third and came out with the win.”


Extra Notes:

-Tonight’s Twin Valley Co-op three stars: No. 1 – Ben Dalke (two goals); No. 2 – Tyler Kirkup (one goal, two assists); No. 3 – Nico Labossiere of the Steelers (two goals).

– The Redfern Farm Services hardest working player: Oil Caps forward Dylan Thiessen.

-Game 2 of the series shifts to Selkirk tomorrow night. Game time: 7:30 p.m.

-Troy Leslie on gameplan for Game 2: “We know it’s going to be tight. They’ve shown that they’re patient and they wait for their opportunities and we saw that from them tonight. We were able to direct a lot of pucks at their net tonight. We’re going to have to continue to do that and stick to our gameplan and being patient.”