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Midget Caps split a pair on opening weekend

Central Plains forward Jordan Rogers watches as a Tyler Van Deynze backhand finds a hole between Pembina Valley netminder Brock Moroz and the post in the third period of the Caps 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh photograph)

Central Plains forward Jordan Rogers watches as a Tyler Van Deynze backhand finds a hole between Pembina Valley netminder Brock Moroz and the post in the third period of the Caps 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh photograph)

Aaron Wilgosh - Daily Graphic/Herald Leader

A good start to a lengthy season.

The Central Plains Capitals are 1-1 after opening weekend in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. The boys started things off with a 3-2 loss to the Eastman Selects Saturday in Beausejour but bounced back with a 5-2 win over Pembina Valley Sunday afternoon at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.

“Not a bad weekend,” says Caps’ head coach, Brad Gnidziejko. “The effort level from the players was great all weekend. That’s one of the first measures of a team - how hard the kids are going to work on and off the ice.”

The Capitals found themselves down 2-0 to the Selects early into the second period Saturday, but managed to claw their way back to tie it up 10 minutes later thanks to tallies courtesy of Max Neill and Logan Calder. The game remained deadlocked until the five-minute mark of the third period when the Selects converted on a man-advantage which proved to be the game-winner. Central Plains’ goaltender Riley Sveistrup took the loss in net but still toted a .914 save percentage to go along with 32 saves on the night.

The Caps’ second game had a far better outcome in front of home crowd fans. A three-goal second period helped them to a 4-1 lead heading into the final frame. Aiden Panko led the way for the Caps with two goals on the night, while Jaxon Blight and Max Neill also found the back of the net.

The Hawks poured on the pressure right from the start of the third and managed to cut the home team’s lead in half with a goal 18 seconds in. Tyler Van Deynze added an insurance marker for the Capitals on a late game powerplay to finish things off. Sveistrup notched his first win of the season with a 37 save performance.

“(Sveistrup) played unbelievably,” adds Gnidziejko. “We were under siege for a good portion of the game against the Hawks and he kept us in it. If everyone can contribute like (he) did we should do well this season.”

The Caps (1-1) are in Winnipeg Wednesday night to face the undefeated Wild (2-0) at the Bell/MTS Iceplex. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Female Caps set sights on Avros

The girls face a tough challenge to open the year.

Central Plains is on the road to kick off their Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League (MFMHL) regular season. The ladies head to Winnipeg Wednesday evening to face the powerhouse Avros at Seven Oaks Arena, game time set for 7:30 p.m.



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