Portage Terriers unbelievable season came to a heart-breaking end Sunday in Estevan, losing 2-1 to Brooks Bandits at the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup. Bandits now advance to the RBC Cup.
Saturday night West Kelowna Warriors earned their trip to the RBC Cup, winning the WCC gold medal game.
“I’m really proud of my team,” GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller told CFRY-Radio. “We tried our best but Brooks is a top club. We obviously had hoped to get berth. We have no regrets how we played. We have to tip our hats who are going to the RBC; they are top clubs.”
“(Brooks) had good jump today. We struggled to mount pressure. I think we might have gassed some guys yesterday to get here today. It was tough on a lot of guys. We were one shot away. Parksy did everything he could.”
“We had such good leadership this year. Nobody expected too much from our group; we had a lot of rookies and young guys,” said Spiller. “We started the year and weren’t sure what we would have. Our leaders were so good for us. This was an easy group to coach because we had such quality guys. They practiced hard and played hard. It’s going to be a tough group to replace.”
“Stewie and Bobby (Brett) will have bright futures. I can’t say enough about our guys, how they handled themselves both on and off the ice. My guys played hard.”
While it was a bitter loss for the Terriers, the players and organization proudly represented the MJHL. It was a marathon of a season for last season’s RBC Cup champions. In total, the Terriers played 79 games.
Seven Terriers played their last game for the green and white, graduating from Junior A hockey: Captain Brad Bowles and his twin brother Shawn, Nathan Park, Michael Knaub, Josh Bykowski, Brock Weston and Braydon McDonald. Terriers will also lose the services next season of Brett Orr and Dean Stewart who will be playing NCAA hockey next season.
Terriers goaltender Nathan Park was outstanding, turning aside 33 of 35 shots. The native of Edmonton was named the Player of the Game. McDonald scored the lone Terrier goal.
EXTRA POINTS: The field is now set for the RBC Cup, with Carleton Place and Trenton earning their spots over the weekend. Lloydminister Bobcats are the host team.