Oil Capitals head coach and GM Troy Leslie had a message to his players in lead up to Friday night’s game against the Dauphin Kings.
“We were worried going in with that many days off that it might take us a while to get going,” said Leslie after his club’s first game in more than a week. “To our guys credit, we had talked about that a lot the past few days making sure we’re ready for this game. We played hard and were ready right from the get-go.”
The Oil Capitals dominated the contest from start to finish in what ended up being a convincing 8-1 win over the Kings in front of more than 750 fans at Tundra Oil and Gas Place. Kolten Kanaski opened the scoring at the 11:15 mark of the first period on the power play, netting his first of two tallies on the night before Hunter Cloutier made it 2-0 just a few minutes later.
The Oil Caps widened their lead rather quickly in the second as the club would score three times in a span of a minute and eight seconds, beginning with Tyler Kirkup’s first of two tallies at the 5:38 mark. Jeran Knorr would net his ninth of the year less than a minute later before Kirkup would then score his eighth goal of the season less than 30 seconds later.
Dauphin’s Matthew Boren scored the Kings lone goal at the 15:10 mark before Graeme Hore picked up his third of the year to make it 6-1 Virden after 40 minutes.
Kanaski scored his 10th of the year with a little less than three minutes to go before Hore scored his second of the night a minute later.
Leslie praised the work of several players on the night including Kirkup, who added an assist in the contest for three points and was later named the first star of the game. Kanaski and Hore’s two-goal efforts were enough to be named second and third stars respectively.
“They were really effective and I think you can say that about a lot of our guys tonight,” Leslie said. “They had good nights. It was just one of those things where we were able to get some confidence early and we were able to sustain it for the whole game.”
The Oil Caps travel to Dauphin tomorrow night to close out a home-and-home set with the Kings and Leslie says the mindset for his club is simple: It’s about setting the tone for the next game.
“We talked about that in between the second and third. We felt coming out that we couldn’t let our foot off the gas pedal in the third period and I thought we continued to play hard.”
Riley McVeigh stopped 16 of 17 shots to pick up the win in net for Virden, while Ismael Ralsten and Matt Kustra combined to stop 52 pucks in the loss for Dauphin.