Portage Terriers were eliminated from the Sun Life Financial Western Canada Cup on Thursday, losing a gut-wrenching 5-3 decision to host Penticton Vees.
Terriers were facing a must-win situation heading into the game with playoff spots still very much undecided. The Manitoba reps left it all on the ice, but fell short. Ironically, it was a former Terrier, Tyler Sanheim, who scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period. Vees’ fifth goal was into an empty Terrier net, as the MJHL champions were desperately trying to put the game into overtime which would have guaranteed them a playoff spot.
Terriers were left with a bitter taste after a goal in the second period was called back after the officials called interference against the Terriers.
“The loss was disappointing,” Terriers’ GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller told CFRY-Radio. “We gave a real good effort but it’s unfortunate how it turned out. We laid it out on the line tonight. I’m proud of my guys.”
“This loss is tough. But we had a good season. It all came together in the playoffs. Against OCN in the final, we battled hard.”
Four members of the Terriers played their final Junior A game in Penticton: captain Riley Thiessen, Carter McMundo, Ryan Heindrix and Josh Martin.
“Our graduating players laid it all out tonight,” said Spiller. “All four will be missed next year. Riley was a great captain for us and had an excellent WCC. He can play on anybody’s team. He plays a ton of minutes. All four of those guys were keys to our championship season.”
In playoff action, Brooks Bandits now play Chilliwack Chiefs in the 1-2 game on Saturday. The winner of that game moves on the RBC Cup. Meanwhile, Penticton takes on SJHL reps Battlefords North Stars, with the winner playing the loser of the 1-2 game. The winner of that game also earns a spot to the RBC Cup.
Terriers, who held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, were led offensively by Chase Brakel who scored a pair. MacKenzie Dwyer rounded out the Terriers’ scoring.
Photo by Heather Jordan