Pivotal game tonight as Soo meets RBC Cup host Portage



Release Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pivotal game tonight as Soo meets RBC Cup host Portage

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. –  It will be a very important game this evening for the Soo Thunderbirds in Day 4 at the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship at PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie, Man., as they meet the host Portage Terriers (MJHL) at 8 p.m.

After starting the five-team event 0-2, Sault Ste. Marie needs to register points if they hope to qualify for one of the semifinal contests slated for Saturday.

The Thunderbirds were blanked 4-0 by the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) Saturday before allowing three early goals Monday and eventually falling to the Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) 5-3.

Owen Headrick paced the T-Birds offensively in the setback to the Mustangs with two goals while Matt Caruso had the other.

Tonight’s match-up sees them taking on the host Terriers, who are 1-1 to begin play at the RBC Cup.

They edged the Penticton Vees (BCHL) 3-2 before dropping a 3-0 decision to unbeaten Carleton Place (2-0) Sunday.

Here’s a further look at Portage.

TEAM: Portage Terriers

LEAGUE: Manitoba Junior Hockey League

HEAD COACH/GM: Blake Spiller

Led by Canadian Junior Hockey League coach of the year Blake Spiller, the Terriers spent  most of the season as the No. 1 ranked club in the CJHL.

They rolled to the MJHL regular season crown finishing 25 points clear of their nearest rival with an overall record of 53-3-4.

In postseason play, the Terriers were equally as efficient as they ran the table going 12-0 in the playoffs sweeping the Waywayseecappo Wolverines and Virden Oil Capitals before eventually putting the broom to the Steinbach Pistons in the MJHL Turnbull Cup final.

Seven of the top scorers in the MJHL playoffs skate for the Terriers, including the top five.

Jordyn Boyd led the way with 17 points while Zack Waldvogel and Dane Schioler had 16 points apiece.

Shawn Bowles and his twin brother Brad were next with 15 points each.

Wadvogel was the leading scorer in the regular season with a MJHL-best 78 points on 28 goals and 50 assists.

Brad Bowles was next on the squad and tied for second overall with 71 while sibling Shawn’s 64 points tied him for fifth overall in the league.

Justin Laforest saw the bulk of the action in the regular season going 31-3 with a 2.13 and .911 save percentage.

Zac Robidoux meanwhile went 5-1 and sported a 1.77 average and .927 save mark.

In the playoffs Laforest was 11-0 with an average of 1.24 and .946 save percentage.

The Terriers, despite having already secured a RBC Cup bid as host, lost in overtime to the Penticton Vees in the Western Canada Cup final.

Brad Bowles paced the squad offensively there with seven points.

Robidoux was 2-0 at the WCC while Laforest was 2-2.

Robidoux also made 31 stops in the RBC Cup opening-win over the Vees Saturday with Laforest suffering the setback vs. Carleton Place turning aside 15 of 18 shots he faced.

NEXT UP: Following tonight’s contest, the Thunderbirds wrap up round robin play Thursday at 3 p.m. vs. Penticton.

They last met at the 2012 RBC Cup in Humboldt, Sask, splitting a pair of meetings.

The Soo won 2-1 in round robin action back by John Kleinhans impressive 44-save performance as it started the netminder efforts in being named most valuable player.

The Vees gained revenge in the semifinal winning 3-0 en route to the national championship.

All RBC Cup round robin and semifinal games are available online via FASTHockey.com while the championship will be on TSN.

RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship
PCU Centre – Portage la Prairie, Man.
Dates: May 9-17
Competing Teams
Host: Portage Terriers (MJHL)
Central: Soo Thunderbirds (Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion)
East: Carleton Place Canadians (Fred Page Cup champion)
West 1: Penticton Vees (Crescent Point Energy Cup champion)
West 2: Melfort Mustangs (Crescent Point Energy Cup finalist)

Saturday, May 9
Portage 3 Penticton 2
Carleton Place 4 Soo 0
Sunday, May 10
Penticton 4 Melfort 0
Carleton Place 3 Portage 0
Monday, May 11
Melfort 5 Soo 3
Tuesday, May 12
Carleton Place vs. Penticton 3 p.m.
Soo vs. Portage 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 13
Carleton Place vs. Melfort 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 14
Penticton vs. Soo 3 p.m.
Portage vs. Melfort 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17
CJHL Awards Banquet
Saturday, May 16
Semifinal 1: 3 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 17
Final: 8 p.m.