Virden Oil Capitals defeat Portage Terriers 4-3
This series had a little bit of everything and the magical run for the “Can’t Count Them Out” Capitals continues with a ticket to the Turnbull Cup.
After going down 2-0 in the series including a humbling loss on home ice, the Oil Caps never quit and managed to battle back to even the series with back-to-back stellar efforts from their goaltending.
An incredibly gutsy effort helped put Portage on the brink of the finals, but the Oil Caps used their home ice to help make a statement in game 6 and followed it up by doing whatever it took to win game 7.
It’s not always about how you get to where you want to go.
For Virden, the journey continues. For Portage, some much needed rest as they load up to host Centennial up.
The question now becomes which MJHL team will join them starting May 11th at Stride Place.
By The Numbers
Virden Power Play 4/23, Penalty Kill 18/19
Portage Power Play: 1/19, Penalty Kill 19/23
Eric Reid – 2-1, 67 saves on 72 shots, 1 shutout
Owen LaRocque – 2-1-1, 132 saves on 141 shots
Bailey Monteith – 1-3, 115 saves on 125 shots
Jayden Catellier – 2-1, 76 saves on 78 shots
Series Scoring Leaders:
Vir – Nolan Chastko – 3 goals, 5 assists for 8 points
Vir – Dean Gorchynski – 0 goals, 5 assists for 5 points
Vir – Ty Plaisier – 2 goals, 3 assists for 5 points
Por – Noah Wagner – 1 goal, 4 assists for 5 points
Por – Brenden Holba – 3 goals, 1 assist for 4 points
Vir – Joey Bielik – 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points
Por – Mike Stubbs – 3 goals, 1 assist for 4 points
Vir – Trevor Hunt – 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points
Por – Brock McDonald – 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points
Por – Ryan Botterill – 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points
Game 1: Portage wins 4-3 in double OT
Like in game one of the first round, the Terriers jumped out to a lead only to watch it slip away. With some veteran savvy, timely saves and strong structure, Portage was able to shake off the nerves and come away with the win.
After being injured in the first round, the Terriers and the crowd got a big boost as Gavin Klassen opened the scoring. Portage managed to get the lead up to 3-0 before the Oil Caps clawed their way back.
A two-point effort from defender Ty Plaisier who scored with a minute remaining in the second and then assisted on the game-tying goal with under three minutes to go in regulation gave the Oil Caps a shot in the extra frame.
Portage answered with a big-time moment from a defender themselves as Brandon McCartney wired a shot home for his first playoff goal and sending the home fans out of the building happy with a win, putting Portage up 1-0 in the series.
Game 2: Portage wins 5-1
After both teams battled up and down the ice through a long stretch of scoreless hockey, the Terriers stepped up their offensive game and earned a massive road win.
It was a goaltending battle early as both teams were turned away shot after shot, keeping the game scoreless till the midway point of the second period. Mike Stubbs, who’s been a rockstar for the Terrers since coming over in a trade midseason, got the Terriers on the board, and in the third, they took over.
A Terrier staple of scoring in quick succession once again stunned the Oil Caps as the lead ballooned to 3-0 just over 6 minutes into the third.
Virden got one back late, but a pair of empty netters put the game away and put Portage in a great spot up 2-0 in the series heading back to Stride Place.
Game 3: Virden wins 4-2
With the odds being stacked against them, down two games and back out on the road, the No Quit Kids came out ready to play and delivered another classic Oil Caps performance on route to an impressive 4-2 win.
Nicholas Guberman put Virden on the board first and that was quickly followed up by Plaisiser scoring his second of the series as his strong postseason continued, giving Virden their first two-goal lead.
More offence from the defense for the Oil Caps as Bray Rookes potted his first to put Virden up 3-0 in hostile territory.
Like all good teams, the Terriers refused to fold up and managed to mount a bit of a comeback scoring once in the second and once in the third to get close.
Rookes put the game away with his second of the game and the Oil Caps came out of Portage with life, trailing 2-1 in the series.
Game 4: Virden wins 3-0
Game 4 was highlighted by Oil Caps goalie Eric Reid putting up a shutout and the Oil Caps players proving they have the drive, desire and hunger to win, which they did.
Virden lead in shots 13-5 in the first and 12-6 in the second but neither team could crack the scoreboard as the goalies went save for save through 40 minutes.
Shots in game 4 jump off the page, 43-22 for the home side with the lion’s share of those shots coming in the third period which is where the Oil Caps did all their damage.
David Bielik, Colten Miller and Andrew Blocker, who sealed the deal with an empty netter, blew the roof off Tundra Oil and Gas Place, knotting the series up at 2-2 and turning the second-round matchup into a best of 3.
Game 5: Portage wins 4-2
The Terriers flipped the script a bit and proved they too have what it takes to dig themselves out of a hole and showed a ton of heart grinding out a 4-2 win at home.
Naton Miller and Andrew Blocker stunned the Stride Place faithful as Virden quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than five minutes into the first.
After going down by a pair early, the Terriers locked it down and started to mount their comeback.
Brenden Holba, who went full on beast mode throughout the series, started things off for the Terriers cutting the lead in half before the first came to a close.
Austin Peters netted a goal and added an assist on the eventual game winner from Stubbs to give life back to the Terriers and put them up 3-2 going into the third.
Once again, the Terriers locked it down, working the clock all the way to the final seconds before Ryan Botterill put the bow on the night with his 4th of the playoffs, sealing a win and putting the Centennial Cup Hosts on the edge of the Turnbull Cup Finals.
Game 6: Virden wins 7-1
The textbook definition of a statement game.
Virden, with their playoff life on the line, came up with an impressive offensive show which included 4 goals in the third period, on their way to lopsided win.
The game didn’t get away from Portage until the third. After going down 1-0 after the first, they managed to tie the game as Brayden Kiesman potted his first of the playoffs.
That was the only positive for Portage as the rest of the night belonged to Virden.
An eye-popping six straight goals sent the Oil Caps and their rabid fanbase into overdrive. Virden used 7 different goal scorers to force game 7.
Game 7: Virden wins 3-2 in double OT
Both teams had timely saves, power play goals which were scored at key times and a classic game 7 that will be talked about for years ended in double overtime, sending the Oil Caps to the finals.
Portage outshot Virden in the opening period 12-4 but neither team mounted a lot of offense as both teams looked determined to make the other team beat them, not beat themselves.
The home side started to tilt the ice through much of the second period as the Terriers used their size and speed. Virden refused to break. They stuck to their plan and gave Portage fits by playing close, in-your-face style hockey, keeping things at 0-0.
Late in the second, Portage grabbed the lead as Holba put on a clinic, turning the puck up ice from his own blueline, putting his head down and racing with all his might into the offensive zone where he took a pass and tipped home his 5th of the playoffs with a goal that should be shown to kids and even pros for what it means to drive the net.
Nolan Chastko evened things up before the midway point of the third as he potted a rebound for his 8th goal of the MJHL Playoffs.
After going 0-17 on the power play, the man advantage unity finally got on the board for Portage as Stubbs crammed home a loose puck to put the home side back up 2-1 just minutes after Virden tied it.
Chastko came to the rescue again as the highly skilled forward cut to the slot from the corner and buried a backhander for his second of the game and 9th of the playoffs.
The score stayed deadlocked 2-2. Both teams had chances on the power play but both penalty kill units came up massive.
Monteith and LaRocque went save for save late in the third, through the first overtime and into the second.
As a Virden power play wound down, the Oil Caps managed to keep a puck in at the blueline, floating it towards the Terriers net. Joey Bielik was there to jam home the game winning goal, sending Virden to the Turnbull Cup Finals for the first time since 2018.
Turnbull Cup Finals Schedule
|Saturday, April 22||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Steinbach Pistons||7:30 PM|
|Sunday, April 23||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Steinbach Pistons||7:00 PM|
|Wednesday, April 26||Steinbach Pistons||at||Virden Oil Capitals||7:30 PM|
|Thursday, April 27||Steinbach Pistons||at||Virden Oil Capitals||7:30 PM|
|Saturday, April 29||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Steinbach Pistons||7:30 PM ***|
|Monday, May 1||Steinbach Pistons||at||Virden Oil Capitals||7:30 PM ***|
|Wednesday, May 3||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Steinbach Pistons||7:30 PM ***|
Portage Waits and Rests
Portage will now re-set their sights and get ready to host the Centennial Cup which starts on May 11th at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.