PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – The Portage Terriers will be bidding for their first Canadian junior A hockey championship since 1973.
Portage defeated the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Yorkton Terriers 3-2 Saturday night before 1,320 fans to win the best-of-seven ANAVET Cup championship 4-2.
It will be Portage’s first appearance in the RBC Royal Bank Cup national junior A championship. Portage won the Centennial Cup national junior A championship 32 years ago in nearby Brandon, Man., and Winnipeg.
The Royal Bank Cup is scheduled May 7-15 in Weyburn, Sask.
Veteran Andrew Jackman scored a shorthanded goal with two minutes and 26 seconds remaining in regulation time to break a 2-2 tie.
Steve Haddon and Jordan McIntyre had the other goals for Portage, which outshot Yorkton 32-31.
Veteran goalie Stefan Drew had 29 saves for Portage.
Josh Garbutt and Scott Carpenter scored for Yorkton, which won its conference championship and the SJHL championship in the deciding game of best-of-seven series.
Goalie Kevin Dziaduck made 29 stops for Yorkton. Dziaduck was voted the most valuable player at last year’s Royal Bank Cup in Grande Prairie, Alta., when he was a playoff addition for the SJHL and ANAVET Cup champion Kindersley Klippers.
McIntyre led Portage with four goals and tied Haddon with seven points in the ANAVET Cup. Haddon led Portage with four assists.
Bryan Bouchard chipped in with three goals and six points for Portage during the series.
Drew stopped 90 of 96 shots in 230 minutes and 11 seconds in the final three games, for a .938 saves percentage. He had 40 saves April 28 in Portage’s 4-3 win in three overtimes before 2,110 fans in Yorkton.
Haddon had one goal and three assists as Portage rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit for the third-overtime win. McIntyre scored at 10:11 of the third overtime and added two assists.
Portage is 16-7 in the playoffs to improve to 55-25-5 and one overtime loss in 86 games overall.