In a battle for second place in the MJHL standings, the visiting Portage Terriers ended up coming out on top, defeating the Virden Oil Capitals by a score of 4-1 on Thursday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.
“I don’t think we had the start that we wanted to have,” said Troy Leslie, head coach and GM of the Oil Caps. “They were really good off the hop tonight. They were able to get some momentum and carry it through. I thought we were a better team in the second and third and were able to get some chances. I thought their goaltender made some key stops for them. They came in and played a good road game tonight.”
After James McIsaac of the Terriers picked up his 20th goal of the season at the 5:08 mark of the first period, the Oil Caps responded a little over four minutes later as Rylee Zimmer netted his 18th of the year, making it 1-1 after 20 minutes.
“He was solid again tonight,” Leslie said regarding Zimmer, who has scored in four straight games. “He’s dangerous in and around the net. Obviously we’re going to need him to be that way the rest of the way here.”
The Terriers regained the lead at the 6:49 mark of the middle frame when Jeremey Leipsic scored on a give-and-go, making it 2-1 after two periods. After Mackenzie Dwyer scored his 10th of the year at 10:25 of the third, Ryan Sokoloski scored into an empty net late (his ninth of the season) to round out the scoring.
The Oil Caps showed a lot of resiliency in the final frame, but unfortunately couldn’t get any of their 15 shots passed Terriers netminder Lasse Peterson. Dalton Dosch took the loss between the pipes for Virden, stopping 23 of 26 shots before being pulled late in the contest for the extra attacker.
“We stress little things everyday that we got to do better,” Leslie added. “On a night like tonight, when you look back on the game, I think it’s those little things that we talk about a lot that need to be executed better. We’ll learn from this one and get ourselves ready for tomorrow.”
-The power plays proved ineffective tonight as both squads ended up going 0-for-3.
-The Oil Caps wound up outshooting the Terriers on the night 36-27 overall.
-The Oil Caps are now three points behind the Terriers for second place overall in the MJHL standings with a record of 27-13-2-0.
-The Oil Caps travel to Winkler to battle the Flyers tomorrow night. Game time: 7:30 p.m.