Tonight’s Game Notes:
Welcome fans to tonight’s game two of the MJHL semifinal series featuring the visiting Portage Terriers (1) and your hometown Virden Oil Capitals (5).Tonight’s game is brought to you byFox Tail Hauling Ltd.
The Portage Terriers are a good hockey team. Scratch that – The Portage Terriers are a great hockey team. They’re supposed to be. They’ve been making trades for the past couple of seasons to set themselves up to be in this position to be a competitive host at the RBC Cup come May and they have done a good job of it. If they weren’t this good, then what would people be saying? Their regular season record was overwhelmingly impressive and every award and honour they received from it was well deserved. But that was the regular season and this is the playoffs. Their 53 wins mean as much as OCN’s 20 and right now they are just one win better than your Oil Caps.
Wednesday night’s game one was a 1-0 final for the Terriers over the Oil Caps that showcased a bit of a goaltender’s duel. Virden didn’t put too much heat on Terriers’ net minder, Justin Laforest, to make many big saves, but he made the ones he needed to. Sean Kuehn turned aside 26 of 27 shots that he faced while the Laforest extended his shut out streak to 180 minutes and six seconds with his third straight shut out. The Terriers possessed the puck for a good chunk of the contest, but to the Oil Caps credit, they limited Portage’s grade A chances and were successfull in killing off all seven of the Terrier power plays. They also had their own chances to tie it with a missed breakaway opportunity and Mack Hardy ringing a shot off the post in the 2nd.
The Oil Caps are going to need to find a way tonight to make Laforest a little less comfortable in his crease and break this streak that he’s put together. Similar to Fordyce in the Winkler series, point shots will have to get through and the Virden players will need to be hanging around the crease as often as they can.
Back to the special teams, the power play will once again be a highlighted component to success tonight. The Oil Caps have shown some positive signs with the man advantage, but currently sit at just 13% in the post season going 5-for-38. The Terriers power play is 6-for-21 in the post-season, good enoguh for 29%. Virden will want to stay out of the box tonight, although they have been solid on the penalty kill at 90%.
There’s no shortage of local talent in the contest tonight. Obviously the Terriers are led by a trio of Elkhorn kids as well as Virden product, Landon Peel. There should be a good turnout at Tundra Oil & Gas Place and it is understandable if the Terriers have a bit more support on the road than what the Flyers had. However, this is the Oil Capital and the team needs your support tonight for a true home ice advantage as they look to draw even in this best-of-seven series.
The Can Elson Drilling 50/50 will once again be a GUARANTEED $3,000 payout tonight.Last game saw a lucky winner take home $3,905.
We should have another exciting matchup on hand here tonight. Bring out your rally towels and make some noise. Lights go down at 7:24..