Sports Local Hockey

Caps open 2018 with shootout loss

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

Aiden Panko celebrates his top corner goal in the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The boys ended up losing 6-5 in a shootout to Eastman. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Aiden Panko celebrates his top corner goal in the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The boys ended up losing 6-5 in a shootout to Eastman. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

One point is better than nothing, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. 

The Central Plains Capitals couldn’t hold off the Eastman Selects (19-8-3) and let a third period lead slip away to fall 6-5 in a shootout in Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League action at Stride Place Wednesday night.

The Caps looked in charge to start a tight back-and-forth first period that saw the home club control most of the play. Aiden Panko scored the only goal of the frame to put the home club up 1-0 heading into the second period. Tyler Van Deynze kept a puck in along the half-wall and found Panko near the top of the circle, Panko then put it top corner to get the crowd on their feet.

Both teams seemed to throw defense to the wind in the second as three goals were added to the scoreboard for the home and away clubs. Capitals’ captain Reilly Funk scored a pair while Max Neill found the back of the net on the power-play. Eastman had a couple of power-play goals and an even strength marker as well to finish the frame at 4-3.

Eastman tied the game quickly into the third period when a shot from the point hit a skater in front of the net and found its way behind Caps’ netminder Rhett Boschman to tie the game at 4. Funk notched his second hat-trick since returning to the club in the third to take a 5-4 lead, but again, the Selects tied the game with three-and-a-half to go in regulation.

A quick overtime period solved nothing so the teams separated for a shootout. Logan Rands was up first for the Caps and was stopped along with the Selects opening shooter, so the shootout remained deadlocked. The next two shooters were successful and it was Tyler Van Deynze who lit the lamp for the Caps. Funk was up next for the Caps and stopped before the Selects’ shooter beat Boschman for the win. The Capitals goalie made 41 saves in the loss.

Central Plains welcomes Southwest (13-15-0) to the BDO Centre Saturday at 4 p.m.


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