After an off-day on Monday, the Penticton Vees resume Western Canada Cup Round-Robin action against the RBC Cup host Portage Terriers at the Casman Centre in Fort McMurray.
The Vees are 2-0 in the tournament thus far, after posting an 11-3 lopsided win over Spruce Grove Saturday and a 6-0 blanking of the tournament host Fort McMurray Oil Barons Sunday.
Listen on EZ Rock AM 800 at 2:00 pm MT / 1:00 pm PST
Portage has split their first two games, dropping their opener 3-1 to Fort McMurray Saturday but rebounded with a 6-3 win over Melfort on Sunday. The Terriers loss on Saturday was their first since February 20th, as they did sweep their way through the Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Dante Fabbro and Hunter Miska have made some news in the last 24 hours, as the two Vees have been nominated for two Canadian Junior Hockey League awards. Monday, Fabbro was named one of five finalists for the CJHL Top Rookie award, and this morning Miska was named one of five finalists for the CJHL Top Goaltender award; winners will be announced next week.
Everything has gone the Vees way so far, they’ve scored 17 goals in two games and have only have coughed up three. Their special teams has been on point as well, as they’ve only taken three penalties in two penalties and have killed-off two of three opposition power-plays. Their power-play is clicking as well, as they scored three power-play goals in a pair of games.
Regular Season Playoffs
Goals: 30 Jordyn Boyd Goals: 8 Shawn Bowles, Zack Waldvogel
Assists: 50 Zack Waldvogel Assists: 13 Dane Schioler
Points: 78 Zack Waldvogel Points: 17 Jordyn Boyd
PPG: 10 Brad Bowles PPG: 3 Davis Ross
SHG: 2 Jordyn Boyd, Zack Waldvogel SHG: 0
PIMS: 204 Chase Faulkner PIMS: 27 Jaryd Wiebe
Portage dominated the Manitoba Junior Hockey League from start to finish this year, finish first in the regular season with an impressive 53-3-4 record for 110 points; 25 points clear of second place Steinbach.
The Terriers scored the most goals in the MJHL, averaging 4.75 goals per game and allowed just 2 goals against on average; also a league-best. Three of the top leading scorers in Manitoba were Terriers, including Zack Waldvogel who finished first with 78 points in 60 games.
The playoffs were no different, as the Terriers swept all three rounds, running the table with a 12-0-0 record to capture their second Turnbull Cup in four years. The Terriers had four shutouts in their first two rounds, before they met the Steinbach Pistons in the MJHL Final. The Terriers swept Steinbach but the scores weren’t as lopsided as they were through the first two rounds, as three of the four games were decided by two goals or less.
The Terriers spread out the offense throughout the season but they do have a very formidable line with Zack Waldvogel and Brad and Shawn Bowles. Waldvogel, as mentioned, led the Terriers in scoring in the regular season and Brad and Shawn were two, three in team scoring. Brad Bowles had 71 points in 60 games, while brother Shawn had 64. They also got a lot of offensive production from their blue-line, as Captain Tanner Jago was the top scoring defenseman with 53 points in the regular season and Kevin Pochuk had 45.
The Terriers boast plenty of weapons and the Vees will have to be weary of their ability to create offense at the drop of a hat.
Western Canada Cup Playoffs
Goals: 5 Tyson Jost Goals: 10 Tyson Jost
Assists: 5 Patrick Newell Assists: 13 Demico Hannoun
Points: 6 Tyson Jost Points: 21 Demico Hannoun
The Vees can solidify their positioning for the weekend with a win this afternoon over Portage but if you’ve been reading above, it won’t be a cake walk. A win pretty this afternoon pretty much guarantees the Vees a spot in the 1-2 WCC Championship game on Saturday afternoon.
So far, so good for the Vees but today’s a game where the Vees want to prove they can not only run with the number one ranked team in the country but beat them. Inside that dressing room they’re eager to prove that they can be the top dogs in the CJHL and a ‘W’ today can go a long way in proving it. It’s pretty much a measuring stick type of game for both teams, as the Terriers will be doing everything they can to defend their number one ranking.
Quite a few Jr. ‘A’ pundits and observers think this is a preview of the RBC Cup in Portage later next month. Depending how this week goes, they might be right.