VIRDEN, MB- Jack Einarson scored the go-ahead goal with 6:31 left in the third period to erase a third-period deficit to snatch a 5-4 victory from the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders. Hunter Cloutier had a five-point night, and Ryley Gross stopped 36/40 in the win.
In the first period, it was a quick start for the Oil Caps. Stampeders forward Callum Fortin got sent to the box for hooking, and the home side went to work quickly on the powerplay. Daemon Hunt received a pass from Hunter Cloutier, and he fed captain Jak Einarson back door to make it 1-0. It was Einarson’s third of the campaign. The Stamps quickly responded with a goal of their own, though, as Carter Cockburn was able to jam a loose puck home at the 9:26 mark of the opening frame. Then just after the midway point of the period, Brett Paddock snapped a shot short side to give the Oil Caps a two-goal lead. The Stamps held a slim 14-13 edge in the shot department after 20.
In the middle frame, while shorthanded, Hunter Cloutier was stopped on the first breakaway chance but got another attempt, and he delivered. Snapping a shot blocker side to make it 3-1. Then the Stampeders came to life. Scoring three goals in a six-minute span, stunning the home crowd at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. First, Alex Danis found the twine for his 7th of the year to bring the Stamps within one, then 2:30 later, Cockburn added his second of the night to tie the game. Jackson Zloty gave Swan Valley the lead with a one-timer blast on the powerplay to provide them with a 4-3 lead heading into the final frame.
Trailing a goal in the third heading into the third period, the Oil Caps have seen this song and dance before this season. After some good chances on the man advantage for the home side, they finally broke through and tied the game. After Einason forced a turnover in the neutral zone, it sprung him and Cloutier on a 2 on 1 rush. Einarson slid it to Cloutier, and he made no mistake ripping the shot under the glove and jumped into the glass with the tying goal. The Oil Caps weren’t done there. Seven minutes later, Einarson put the Oil Caps ahead for good, snapping a shot under Foucher’s blocker side to give the Oil Caps a 5-4 lead.
Eianrson was proud of the way the team stuck together.
This team doesn’t quit; we dug deep in the third, and it was a nice comeback,” said Eianrson. “Our line was clicking tonight, we had a good week of practice leading up to tonight, and it translated to the game, which was nice,” added Einarson.
With the win, the Oil Caps extend their winning streak to seven and sit atop the interior division with an 8-0-1 record, the best in the Manitoba Junor Hockey League. The Oil Caps will now have the next week off and will be back in action on November 21st when the Neepawa Natives come to town for their first meeting of the season.
Written by: Blake Friars