The Oil Caps defeated the Neepawa Natives 6-2 on Friday night in what was the club’s last road game of the regular season.
Rylee Zimmer opened the scoring for the Oil Caps as the 20-year-old forward netted his 24th of the season just 5:41 into the contest to make it 1-0 for Virden. After Benoit Mowbray responded for Neepawa less than three minutes later (8:27 mark), Graeme Hore would find the back of the net a little after the midway mark of the opening period (10:22), picking up his 14th of the year to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes of play.
The second period was a tightly-contested affair and it remained scoreless until late in the frame when Oil Caps leading scorer Tyler Kirkup added to his goal total on the year, picking up his first of two on the night with only 15 seconds remaining, giving the Oil Caps a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes.
The Oil Caps picked up where they left off in the third, scoring three straight tallies – Kirkup’s second of the night at 3:38, Tristen Cross at 11:10 and Kyle Salaway at 12:36 – made it 6-1 for the road team. Neepawa’s Noah Carson would cut into the lead at 13:35 but that’s as close as the Natives would get on this night.
Riley McVeigh picked up his 25th win of the season, turning aside 31 shots in net for Virden, while Neepawa netminder Spencer Eschyschyn made 41 saves in the loss for the Natives.
The Oil Caps will wrap up their regular season tomorrow night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place against the Dauphin Kings. Game time: 7:30 p.m.
-With the win, the Oil Caps move back into second place in the MJHL standings with 81 points. Who the Oil Caps play in the first round of the MJHL playoffs will be determined this weekend.
-Tyler Kirkup, the MJHL goal leader, now has 39 goals and is three tallies ahead of second place Bradley Schoonbaert of the Steinbach Pistons.
-The three stars for tonight’s game: Tyler Kirkup (two goals) is star No. 1, followed by Graeme Hore (one goal and one assist) and Neepawa’s Austin Friesen (two assists).