The ANAVET Cup is staying in Manitoba thanks to the Portage Terriers never-quit attitude.
In a winner-take-all Game 7, the MJHL champions won the ANAVET Cup with a thrilling 4-0 victory over La Ronge Ice Wolves Sunday night at Portage’s Credit Union Centre.
The Terriers now head to the RBC Cup, scheduled for Camrose, Ab., April 30 to May 10. This is the second ANAVET Cup for the Terriers, who last captured the Manitoba-Saskatchewan title back in 2005, defeating Yorkton Terriers.
Terriers dominated Sunday’s game from start to finish, sparked by the outstanding play of goaltender Jason Kasdorf, who turned aside 19 La Ronge shots in posting his shutout effort.
“I was freaking out,” Kasdorf said of the final seconds. “I was so excited. What a group of guys in front of me. I’m really proud of these guys.”
For Terriers’ GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller, this was his first ANAVET Cup as head coach.
“It’s unbelievable,” Spiller told CFRY-Portage. “I’m real proud of our group. They are a real good group of players, who made it a pleasure to come to the rink every day. Our guys know how to get through adversity. Our guys were so determined this year. This win is also for the guys of years past.”
Spiller said his team was inspired last night by the return of captain Cory More, who suffered a major injury prior to the MJHL playoffs.
“Cory is our captain and our leader,” said Spiller. “The guys wanted keep our playoffs going, giving him an opportunity to play. It couldn’t have turned out any better.”
More was ecstatic as he held the ANAVET Cup over his head.
“This is the best feeling in the world,” he said with a million-dollar grin. “Game 7…you can’t ask for anything more. I’m feeling awesome. Just great.”
Terrier veteran Shaq Merasty scored the only goal the Terriers needed for victory, with his club holding a slim 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. Rounding out the Terriers’ scoring was Kyle Turgeon and the Harms brothers – Tanner and Brendan.
“Playing in junior hockey, only a select few get to go to the RBC Cup,” said Tanner Harms. “This is fantastic. It’s so special. I really can’t believe it.”
Brendan Harms echoed his brother’s feelings. “It’s amazing…you work so hard and when you win it’s just awesome.”
For Terrier veteran Tyler Moore, last night’s win was his first ANAVET Cup in three tries.
“This is the best feeling right now,” said Moore, 20. “We’re going to have some fun. And get ready for the RBC Cup.”
PUCK POINTS: Terriers played in two consecutive ANAVET Cup championships, losing both to Humboldt Broncs in 2008 and 2009….Terriers’ forward Brent Wold, 17, was named the MVP of the ANAVET Cup.