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The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION

Pistons lose in Virden, Caps lead final 2-0

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 04/13/2018 7:53 AM

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The Virden Oil Capitals edged the Steinbach Pistons 4-3 Thursday night in Virden to take a 2-0 lead in the MJHL finals. Game three in the series will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Steinbach.

TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

The Virden Oil Capitals edged the Steinbach Pistons 4-3 Thursday night in Virden to take a 2-0 lead in the MJHL finals. Game three in the series will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Steinbach.

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The Steinbach Pistons lost 4-3 to the Virden Oil Capitals Thursday night at Virden as the favoured Pistons now trail 2-0 in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League championship series. Virden won the opening game of the series by a 2-1 margin last Friday in Steinbach.

Game two of the series was originally scheduled to be played last Sunday at Virden, but of course was postponed following the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. There was an emotional pre-game tribute to the Broncos in Virden last night, remembering the 16 members of the Broncos organization that lost their lives in that horrific accident one week ago. Both the Pistons and Oil Capitals had the Broncos team name on the back of their jerseys.

It was another close affair in last night's game. The Pistons struck early as Will Koop staked the Pistons to a 1-0 lead just 1:12 after the opening face-off. Virden tied it on a goal by Graeme Hore with two minutes left in the second.

Then, there was a flurry of five goals in the third. Tristen Cross scored five minutes into the third to give Virden their first lead of the game. But it was short-lived as Jack Johnson tied it for the Pistons a minute later.

The see-saw battle continued as Easton Bennett gave the Pistons a 3-2 lead at the 13:22 mark of the third. But that was also short-lived as the Oil Caps quickly replied with the tying and winning goals. Rylee Zimmer tied it at 14:07 and Landyn Cochrance notched the winner at 15:48.

Steinbach pressed to get the equalizer in the final four minutes, pulling Matthew Thiessen in the final minute in favour of an extra attacker, but couldn`t get one by Riley McVeigh, who was again outstanding in net, making 40 saves in the game as the Pistons outshot the Caps 43-34.

Game three in the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Steinbach. There was also be another ceremony prior to the game in honour of the Humboldt Broncos. Game four will be back in Virden Monday night.

Meanwhile, as the MJHL returned to play last night after an appropriate pause in the wake of the Humboldt disaster, the SJHL will also resume play on Saturday as the Nipawin Hawks will host the Estevan Bruins in game one of the finals, in what is sure to be a highly emotional night in Nipawin.

The Bruins, on their way to Humboldt today on their team bus, are planning to stop at the site of the crash just of south Nipawin to pay their respects to the fallen Broncos, exactly one week after the crash. The Broncos were on the their way to Nipawin for game five of their semi-final series, which the Hawks led 3-1, when their bus collided with a semi.

SJHL team members, including the Humboldt Broncos, unanimously decided that the final series in that league should proceed. The winner of that series will play the winner of the Steinbach vs. Virden series in the Anavet Cup, for the right compete in the RBC Cup national championship next month at Chilliwack, B.C.   


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