Portage la Prairie- Portage Terriers are the 2011-12 MJHL champions. The Terriers captured the Turnbull Cup after a thrilling 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Winnipeg Saints before nearly 2,000 ecstatic fans at the PCU Centre.
The Terriers successfully defended their MJHL championship, winning their fourth Turnbull in the last five years: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Only the Dauphin Kings have interrupted the Terriers impressive championship streak.
Please click here to see pictures from tonight's final.
Kajon McKay, who now has three championship rings in his career as a Terrier, was named the MJHL’s playoff MVP.
“It’s an awesome feeling winning the MVP,” McKay, 20, told CFRY-Radio.
“It’s a really good feeling. This never gets old. It’s the best feeling. It’s a great organization and I’m happy to be part of it. Just like every year our depth is amazing. (Goaltender) Adam Iwan came to play….and our guys showed up every game to play. That’s how we are successful.”
Terriers’ veteran Brendan Harms continued his home-rink scoring heroics, notching a pair in the win. He’s now scored six goals in his last three home games and a total of 12 in the post season. Home cooking perhaps?
“I love playing here,” said the second-year Terrier forward. “Our fans are awesome. To come in last year and get the MJ and ANAVET it’s awesome. Hopefully we can do it all again.”
Saints’ rookie Corey Petrash, whose father Ken once played for the Saints, put Terrier fans on the edge of their seats when he scored with less than seven minutes remaining in the third to pull the Winnipeggers to within a goal. Despite pulling their goaltender in the dying seconds, the Terriers, most noteworthy goaltender Adam Iwan, refused to falter.
It would be an understatement to say this was a heart-breaking loss for the Saints who have been in three of the last five MJHL championship finals.
At the other side of the rink, it was unbridled euphoria for the Terriers.
Iwan, who came to the Terriers this season from Neepawa, was outstanding during the entire post-season. Portage GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller couldn’t say enough adjectives about his pre-season trade.
“Adam was unbelievable in the playoffs,” said Spiller. “I’m so proud of him. He didn’t play a whole bunch last year and got a chance and he ran with it.”
Spiller was quick to credit the Terriers’ unbelievable success to a bit of happenstance and talent.
“We really have been fortunate and lucky along the way. When you have guys like Harms and Wold, McKay and others…you’re always going to have a chance. They were real good for us last year and they were the same this year. Everyone made a contribution.
“You have to get lucky at different times,” said Spiller. “You have to have the right guys in the right situations. Guys have learned how to win over the years. Then you get fresh guys coming in and they bring a new excitement.”
Terriers’ captain Andrew Wiebe also played his usual, steady game.
“This is why we play junior hockey,” said Wiebe, 20. “It’s our goal and we accomplished it. I thought their goalie played awesome. I thought we had one of our better games and came out with the win.”
Another key addition to the Terriers was Connor Faupel, who was acquired Neepawa Natives.
“This is a highlight of my career and I hope we can keep winning from here on,” said Faupel, 20. “There’s nothing better than winning, and no other place I’d rather be.”
EXTRA SHOTS: Terriers now await the winner of the SJHL final: Humboldt and Weyburn. If Humboldt wins this series, the Terriers are automatically going to the RBC Cup by virtue of the Broncos being the RBC host team.