Courtesy of TheCarillon.com
The Portage Terriers have come into these MJHL finals as advertised. The vaunted Terriers blanked the Steinbach Pistons 3-0 Sunday night in Steinbach to take a 2-0 lead in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League championship series. The Terriers were 5-1 winners in game one Friday night at Portage.
Portage scored a goal in each period, off the sticks of Brad Bowles, Brayden McDonald and Jeremy Leipsic.
The Terriers dominated the first period as they took the 1-0 lead. But the key goal of the game was the McDonald powerplay marker early in the second, with Anthony Kapelke taking a slashing penalty.
The Pistons kept the pressure on through the final 40 minutes but just continued to be snakebitten in the series. Not since defenceman Kapelke’s goal in the first period of game one have the Pistons scored a goal, on nearly two complete games of hockey.
Steinbach outshot Portage 27-23 as Nathan Park posted the shutout for the Terriers.
The Terriers were ranked number one in Canada all of last season, when they went on to sweep the Pistons four straight in the MJHL finals before winning the RBC Cup national championhsip.
It’s a similar scenario this year. The Terriers have been ranked first in Canada all season, they won their second straight MJHL pennant this year, and are facing the second place Pistons again in the MJHL finals.
But there is one difference this year, the Pistons are a better team this time around and still have a lot of fight left in them. They were also down 2-0 in the semis to Winkler and came back to win the series, but this time around it will be more difficult as the Terriers are a more formidable opponent.
Game three in the series goes Wednesday in Portage and then game four next Sunday in Steinbach.