Blues Record: 2-0-0 (7-3 W vs VOC, 4-3 W @ VOC)
For the first time since late November, the Winnipeg Blues were able to pick up back-to-back wins, taking four points in a home-and-home set with the Virden Oil Capitals.
On Friday, Winnipeg’s offense exploded on route to a 7-3 win. Brayden Foreman picked up a hat trick, Ryan Ostermann scored twice, and Jaden Ostrowski snapped a 12-game goalless drought to help the Blues roll over Virden with a 7-3 win. The win marks the first time Winnipeg scored more than five goals in a game since November 20th in a 7-4 win over the Steinbach Pistons.
Jake Dale led the way on Saturday, scoring his first hat trick in Junior A hockey to lead the Blues to a tight 4-3 win on the road. Josiah Vanderhooft scored Winnipeg’s other goal, moving him up to 20 this season.
Winnipeg’s two-win weekend moves them back in front of the Winkler Flyer’s for second place in the East Division.
Winnipeg will meet a divison rival for the first time in the new year this weekend, with the Selkirk Steelers preparing to play the Blues in a four-game set.
Winnipeg is 2-2 against Selkirk this season, winning the first two games before dropping the final two matches back in October. However, this is a very different Steelers team than the one Winnipeg saw earlier this year – no one was a bigger seller at the Transaction Deadline than Selkirk. In addition to the move that brought Ostermann to the Blues, the Steelers also sent Eric Krywy, Nate Hinds, Jared Chapel, and Tristan Thompson off to new teams.
Despite the selloff, Selkirk is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, so expect a hungry Steelers team looking to build off two huge wins over the OCN Blizzard.
The first game is on Friday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Blues final game in Selkirk this season. On Saturday, January 22, the Blues welcome Selkirk to the RINK Training Centre for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.
Three Keys for the Week:
1st: Power Up the Power Play
Winnipeg went 0/4 against the Oil Capitals, continuing a rough stretch for the Blues man advantage.
No Eric Fawkes certainly doesn’t help, but Winnipeg has battled through injuries before this year. The Blues have come close over their past few chances, but this team is much better than the results they’re generating. Winnipeg has gone 1/17 on the man advantage in their past five games.
2nd: Keep the Good Times Rolling
Winnipeg has a chance to go on a prolonged winning streak for the first time since their seven-game win streak to start the season. Right now, Winnipeg sits eight points back of the Steinbach Pistons for first place in the East and the MJHL, and Steinbach has a game in hand. Losing any more ground through the final 20 games would kill any chance of Winnipeg taking the top spot, which will have massive implications going into the playoffs.
3rd: Cool Down a White-Hot Offense
Selkirk scored 16 goals in their two games against OCN, including putting up the third ten-goal game in the MJHL this season on Friday. The Blues defense core has emerged as a major strength of this team, and Dawson Green has been one of the MJHL’s best goalies this season. This week’s games will be a great test for Winnipeg’s core to see what they’ll do to cool down the Steeler’s hot shooters.