Portage knows how to win when it counts.
After battling in game 6 for the chance to play in front of 2200 fans at Stride Place last night, the heart and character of this young team proved to be enough to hoist the Turnbull Cup for the 4th time in 5 years.
In a series the likes of which the MJHL hasn’t seen in over 20 years, the top 2 teams take the final to a game 7. With both team having their highs and lows this, the cup was there for the taking.
Portage`s Sam Huston opened the scoring in the first going top shelf on Pipes from the high slot to the delight of the packed Dog Pound.
Portage`s lead stood until 6:29 in the second, Osadick on the powerplay scoring high glove short side on Nathan Moore. The Terriers regained the lead just over 2 minutes later, Brakel burying his 8th of the post season finishing off a beautiful pass from Orca Wiesblatt.
Both teams had opportunities but were unable to convert until late in the third. You could feel the energy in the rink building with the anticipation of a hometown win.
Down one, Swan called a time out with 1:22 to go and pulled their goaltender. With 43 seconds left Scantlebury picked up a minor for tripping. With a decent contingent of Stampeder fans and a belief that they could, Osadick tied the game with 7 seconds left on the clock netting his own rebound after an amazing toe save by Nathan Moore.
The Stampeders were not the only ones to believe this season. With leaders like Barnstable and Brakel who have been here before, the Terriers went to work.
After Moore stoned a partial breakaway by post season scoring leader Bradly Goethals the crowd was on their feet.
Blocking a shot from Hirst, Reece Henry created an offensive opportunity. Winning the race of his life to beat Swan to the puck he swooped in front of the net scoring on the backhand.
” This is unbelievable. Best feeling in the world.” -Henry after scoring the game winner to win the Cup.
Portage raised the Turnbull Cup for the 4th time in 5 seasons. Captain Ty Barnstable giving Assistant Captain Braden Billaney the nod to pick up the hardware.
Assistant Captain and 3 time Turnbull Cup Champion, Chase Brakel, “ It’s hard to put this one into words. The way it ended was surreal, a fitting end to a series like that. It never gets old winning at home. Of the 3 Championships, this one was the sweetest, the resilience we had to fight back after that heartbreaking goal just shows the type of team we are. It took every player on our roster to win this series, the Turnbull Cup is back where it belongs.“
The Terriers will now look ahead to the Anavet Cup where they take on The Canalta Cup Champions, the Battlefords North Stars. The series starts off this Friday at Stride Place game time 7:30pm with Game 2 following Saturday.
Tickets are already on sale at Stride Place. Make sure to get your tickets early to secure your seats. Tickets can be purchased online https://tickets.strideplace.com/.
League Playoff Awards
Top Scorer – Bradley Goethals
Top Goaltender – Merek Pipes
Playoff MVP – Sam Huston