Oil Caps squander early lead, lose to Flyers

The Virden Oil Capitals got started on the right track on Sunday night, but wound up falling 5-4 to the Winkler Flyers in front of more than 770 fans at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.

After an early goal from Winkler’s Nolan McGuire, Jack Einarson scored his first two goals of his MJHL career and Kolten Kanaski netted his fifth tally of the season, helping Virden secure a three-goal lead after 20 minutes of play.

The lead didn’t last in the second period as Garrett Kuklica got the Flyers within and then McGuire continued what would be a great game for the 20-year-old right winger as he scored two more times, helping Winkler take a 4-3 lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes.

“You can’t unravel after having a 3-1 lead at home like that,” said Oil Caps head coach and GM Troy Leslie. “All of a sudden it was 4-3 and we had a battle on our hands. We did a lot of good things but if you’re going to beat a team like that, you obviously can’t give up that kind of lead.”

Oil Caps’ forward Tyler Kirkup netted his sixth of the season at the 4:44 mark to tie the game at four apiece in the third, however Matt Christian scored approximately eight minutes later for the Flyers, who ended up holding on, withstanding a late push from Virden to pick up the win.

“It was a tough night,” Leslie said. “We battled hard in the third and got a lot of pucks to the net. The bottom line is we’ve got to be better in front of our net and I think we have to be tougher and score more goals in front of theirs on second, third and fourth opportunities.

“It’s one game but I think it’s a good lesson for us,” Leslie added. “Obviously we’re finding out what it takes to beat a team like that.”

Riley McVeigh stopped 22 of 27 shots in net for Virden in the loss, while Troy Martyniuk turned aside 40 of 44 pucks to pick up the win between the pipes for Winkler.

The Oil Caps’ next game action is on Tuesday night when they travel to Swan Valley to take on the Stampeders. Game time for that contest is 7:30 p.m