Portage Terriers are once again champions of the MJHL after a dramatic 1-0 victory over OCN Blizzard Wednesday before 2,200 at Portage’s Stride Place.
It was the third consecutive Turnbull Cup for the Terriers and seventh championship over the last 10 years. This year’s championship was hard earned, with the Terriers having to battle back from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven championship series against the determined Blizzard, who last won the MJHL in 2003.
“This is a tremendous feeling,” Terriers’ GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller told CFRY-Radio. “Chappy (Kurtis Chapman) was unbelievable. We had some chances but their goaltender was equally as good.”
Chase Brakel, who was a member of last year’s championship squad, scored the game’s lone goal just 1:16 into the first period. It was his seventh of the post-season. From that point on it was a goaltenders’ battle, with Kurtis Chapman earning his fourth shutout of the post-season.
“The whole team came together,” said Chapman. “And it was a great game for everyone. Our defence and forwards were blocking shots and allowing me to see the shots coming my way.”
“This feels amazing, winning the Turnbull at home is surreal,” said Brakel. “I remember sitting in the room after the 6-0 loss in Game 2 and Soko (Ryan Sokoloski) looked at me and said we’ll have to win the series in six.
“This (championship) feels sweeter this season, I suppose because we were underdogs coming into the playoffs. There’s less pressure on us this season because Steinbach was top dog.”
Jared Roy, who hails from Portage, admitted winning the championship at home was an unbelievable feeling.
“This is surreal,” said Roy, 18. “Playing in front of your hometown; nothing beats that. They (OCN) came out hard. But Chappy was unreal.”
EXTRA POINTS: Terrier forward Jeremey Leipsic was named Top Scorer … Josh Martin was named MVP … OCN goaltender Brett Epp was named player of the game….OCN graduates eight players…Terriers now advance to the Western Canada Cup which begins April 29 at Penticton…Terriers’ captain Riley Thiessen was unable to play Wednesday due to injury; but that didn’t prevent him from accepting the Turnbull Cup in the frenzied post-game celebration.