Flyers & Terriers get set for first round battle in MGEU East

With less than one week left in the regular season, some teams know who their first-round opponent will be while others still battle it out to get into the McMunn and Yates Turnbull Cup Playoffs.

First up, we take a look at the first playoff series to be solidified between two clubs in the MGEU East Division. It will be the (2) Winkler Flyers vs (3) Portage Terriers in round one.

Season Series: Oct 6th 4-3 Winkler in shootout, Nov 22 4-0 Portage, Jan 24 2-1 Portage, Feb 16th 3-2 Portage in shootout, Mar 8th 2-1 Portage.

Last 10 games:
Winkler – 7-2-0-1
Portage – 6-4-0-0

Last 5 games:
Winkler: 4-1, 23 goals for, 9 goals against
Portage: 3-2, 18 goals for, 20 goals against


The Terriers hold the season series, but every game has been playoff-like. Both teams love to play with physicality and while the Flyers have the advantage up front, the Terriers strong backend is up for the challenge of defending those big-bodied Flyers forwards.

Winkler loves to get the puck in deep, work the corners and are too much for most teams to handle in front of the net. They force mistakes and capitalize with some of the best goal scorers in Junior A. Combine that with the way they’ve made teams pay with the man advantage, the Flyers are always dangerous when in the offensive zone.

Portage is more than capable of not just withstanding all that from the backend but thriving through it. Big, fast, skilled puck-moving defenders will spend as little time as possible in their own zone plus can join the rush to find offense. Great two-way awareness by the forwards allows any player in green a chance to be effective and dangerous.

In the crease, both teams can believe when they’re called upon, the padded princes will be up for whatever comes their way. Malachi Klassen has had another wonderful year while Jayden Catellier has stepped up his game in his 20-year-old season. Both teams can push play offensively so it’ll be the timeliness of a save that could be a major factor.

Both teams can score. Both teams can defend. Both teams have great goaltending. This will be one of the best series perhaps in any round. Whether it’s 4 games or 7, expect every game to be close, hard-fought, and for whatever team comes out at the end of it to have paid the price.

Series Positives and Concerns


Positive: Big Time Goal Scorers. The Flyers don’t just have a deadly offense, they have players that thrive on the big stage. When a goal is needed most, they find a way to come up huge. Depth scoring is always important, but the Flyers can lean on their big horses when times are desperate and know they have what it takes to get the job done. Winkler is big, physical and in-your-face. If they can impose their will, they may earn some power play chances and that’s where they can really feast.

Concern: Adapting To Find Goals. While they have those high-powered weapons, it’ll be up to them throughout the series to adapt to how they go about getting the offensive looks. They may not have the success against that D-core like they’ve had during the year. Key guys will have to find different ways to find the back of the net when things get uncomfortable. An added concern will be if they hyper-focus on offense, it could leave them exposed for a counterattack.

Key Player – Forward Dalton Andrew


Positive: All For One. All season long, the Terriers have done what they’ve needed to, and they’ve done it by committee. With two players in the top 20 in scoring, the Terriers haven’t relied on just one or two guys or one line, they’ve got balance and threats up all over. With strong pushing from the defenders and forwards that can finish without sacrificing offense for defense, the Terriers are hard to match up against.

Concern: Wear and Tear. Wave after wave of forechecking will take its toll on the Terriers backend if they don’t get proper support from the forwards or if they’re unable to clear the zone effectively. The defense will expect to be hit every time they touch the puck so it’ll be about quick, smart decisions but those bumps and bruises will add up throughout a series.

Key Player – Defenseman Tayem Gislason