It wasn’t the result the Oil Caps were hoping for in what was a special night in front of their home fans as the club dropped a 7-2 decision to the Portage Terriers in the Oil and Energy Appreciation game on Friday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.
The Terriers were able to jump out to a two-goal lead in the first period on goals from Jay Bucholz at 4:27 followed by Morgan Poirier at 11:21 on the power play before Virden responded with a tally of their own as Ben Dalke’s shorthanded marker made it 2-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Unfortunately for the Oil Caps, the road team broke the game open in the middle frame, scoring four consecutive goals off the sticks of Jared Roy at 5:58 followed by Poirier’s second of the night less than two minutes later (7:29). Buchholz’s second of the game at 12:27 and later, Reece Henry’s tally at 17:41 would make it 6-1 for Portage at that point. The Oil Caps would find the back of the net once more a bit later in the period as Dalke potted his second of the contest (18:53) but that’s as close as Virden would come on this night.
Reilly Funk’s 17thof the year at 16:42 of the third period shorthanded was the only tally of the third as the first-place Terriers improved to 34-6-1-1 on the season, while Virden dropped to 21-15-3-4 on the year.
“We just didn’t play with enough speed and compete to stay in the game,” said Oil Caps assistant coach Tyson Ramsey. “We took the easy way out on a number of occasions and our one-on-one play was poor. We saw tonight what kind of game we need to play to compete with the best teams in the league. We will regroup and get ready for another important one tomorrow night.”
Dalke, the Oil Caps captain, said it was a lesson learned tonight for the group.
“We have a chance to redeem ourselves tomorrow so that’s what we’re going to do.”
Ethan Peterson stopped 19 of 21 pucks directed his way to pick up his 10thwin of the season, while Dalton Dosch made 36 stops between the pipes for Virden in the loss.
Despite the score at the end of the night for the Oil Caps, it was a special game in Virden. The club wore special oil and energy appreciation jerseys that were auctioned off with proceeds of the auction going towards the Oil Capitals hockey club in an effort to continue to grow the organization both on and off the ice and in the community of Virden and all of southwest Manitoba.
As a token of appreciation, the club permitted anyone who works or is involved in the energy industry and their families to come to the game for free.
Next up for the Oil Caps: Tomorrow night against the Selkirk Steelers at TOGP. Game time: 7:30 p.m.