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Oil Caps headed to MJHL final!

Oil Caps off to Turnbull Cup final for first time since club moved to Virden

The Oil Caps are Turnbull Cup bound for the first time since the club moved to Virden back in 2012.

“It’s a great feeling, but you know what, it’s a great opportunity to have and the work is just beginning now,” said Oil Caps head coach and GM Troy Leslie. “We’ve got to enjoy these next 24-48 hours or so and then make sure we get ourselves in the right frame of mind for the next round.”

The Flyers didn’t make it easy for the Oil Caps on Thursday night in Game 4 in Winkler as they opened up a 4-0 lead before Virden stormed back, scoring four straight in the middle frame on their way to a 6-5 win.

Leslie praised the work of the Jack Einarson-Josh Belcher-Brayden Pawluk line for the Oil Caps as the trio played a key role in the club’s comeback efforts.

“They went out and had a few really good shifts in the second period and obviously were rewarded for a couple goals and really got us going in the right direction,” Leslie said.

The game started on the wrong foot for the Oil Caps as the Flyers opened up a 2-0 lead in the first period on tallies from Erik Dahl at 2:57 followed by Mitchell Dyck at 18:41 on the power play. A Coltyn Bates goal just 12 seconds into the second made it 3-0 before Brody Moffatt’s power play goal at 6:40 gave the home team a four-goal advantage.

The tide turned quickly however as four goals in a span of approximately six minutes – beginning with Rylee Zimmer’s unassisted tally at 7:58 of the second – completely changed the overall tone of the contest. Consecutive goals by Kirklan Lycar (9:05 PP), Josh Belcher (12:40) and Kyle Salaway (13:33) tied the game 4-4.

Despite a late Flyers tally in the middle frame (17:01) by Weiland Parrish, which made it 5-4 for Winkler at the time, the Oil Caps continued to persevere, eventually tying the game at the 4:58 mark of the third as Ben Dalke netted his team leading seventh goal of the postseason with the man advantage. Co-captain Dylan Thiessen scored what would be the eventual game winner late in the game (17:24).

Leslie says the win is a testament to the work that goes on behind the scenes with the Oil Caps organization.

“Obviously people that are around the game understand it. It all starts with your list and your prospects and the job you do at the draft,” he said. “Then obviously it builds its way into putting the team together in the fall. We knew we had a really good nucleus of guys here. We’ve been able to do a couple things to build around them. So it’s really nice for a lot of the guys here that have been here for three or four years to be rewarded with this… I’m obviously really happy for those guys and really honoured to be in the final.”

Riley McVeigh stood tall when he had to, making several key saves especially in the second and third period during the Oil Caps comeback, making 31 saves for the win in net for the Oil Caps. Aaron Brunn ended up with the loss between the pipes for Winkler.

With the sweep of the Flyers, the Oil Caps will now await the winner of the other MJHL semifinal series between the Steinbach Pistons and the Winnipeg Blues. That series is currently knotted at two games apiece.

Extra Notes:

-Ben Dalke (one goal and two assists) was the first star on the night, followed by Kolten Kanaski (two assists) as the second star. Coltyn Bates (one goal and two assists) was the third star on the night.

-Both teams went 2-for-4 on the power play tonight.

-The Oil Caps outshot the Flyers 45-36 overall.