It wasn't an easy victory by any means
Caps win battle over Kenora
The Central Plains Capitals managed to come away with a win after battling up and down the rink with the Kenora Thistles at the BDO Centre in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
A brouhaha of a finish.
The Central Plains Capitals won 8-6 over the Kenora Thistles in a wild and rambunctious Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League match at the BDO Centre in Portage la Prairie.
“It’s nice to get a win plain and simple,” says Caps head coach, Brad Gnidziejko. “We’ve had a couple of emotional games with (Kenora) and there’s just something between us that seems to get the players riled up. I like an emotional game, not a fan of the penalties, but I want the boys playing with emotion.”
It was the away team who struck first as the Thistles found the back of the net four minutes into the game. Things got intense after the Kenora goal and the Caps were awarded back-to-back power-play goals, the first from Tyler Van Deynze and the second from Kian Calder. Kenora was able to tie the game at two with three minutes to play in the first but the Caps answered right back to reclaim their one-goal lead. This time it was Max Neill who lit the lamp. The first period had the least amount of penalties at six, totaling 20 minutes.
The boys stayed red hot into the second period, and the penalty count finished up at 12. Again, the Thistles struck first scoring just two minutes into the middle period. The Caps had two special team goals a minute apart to climb ahead 5-3. Jaxon Blight's power play goal was followed by a shorthanded goal from Mitchell Wilson – his first of three on the night. Kenora battled back and scored two goals to tie the game with just 45 seconds left, but the Caps took back the lead with 12 seconds left when Wilson notched his second of the game.
There were 25 penalties handed out in the third, totaling 88 penalty minutes and four ejections. The Caps took over scoring two goals to make it 8-5 with seven minutes remaining in the final period. Wilson completed his hat trick at the halfway point while Aiden Panko added another power play marker. Kenora would add a late goal, and several brawls broke out before the end of the game, but the final result was a Capitals victory.
“We work really hard on trying to do the right things without the puck and playing defence,” adds Gnidziejko`. “When it doesn’t go well it can take a lot of steam out of you, but we had a lot of positives here and we’ll try to build off of this weekend.”
The Caps were scheduled to face the Winnipeg Bruins Friday night but didn’t have enough players to make the trip. Gnidziejko’s hopeful the game will be rescheduled rather than count as a default loss. Central Plains’ next challenge is up north when they visit Norman in Thompson Friday and Saturday night.