PORTAGE, Man - The Portage Terriers took round three against the Penticton Vees, as they took the RBC Cup opener 3-2 Saturday afternoon, May 9, in Portage la Prairie, Man.
One week ago the Vees bettered the Terriers 4-3 in the Western Canada Cup Final in Fort McMurray; avenging their 3-2 round-robin loss earlier in the tournament.
Terriers Captain Tanner Jago scored the game-winner with just under eight-minutes left in the third period. Shawn Bowles and Brett Orr scored the other two goals for the RBC Cup hosts.
Patrick Newell scored both of Penticton’s goals, including the opener five and a half minutes into the first. Newell buried a rebound after Tyson Jost tried to tuck the puck in at the side of the net.
It was a good start for the Vees, as the kept a near capacity crowd on their hands early, not only leading but outshooting Portage 14-4 at one point. The Vees also a great chance to double their lead on a five-on-three but Gabe Bast rifled his point-shot off the post.
The Terriers tied the game late in the first period on the power-play. With Patrick Sexton off for four-minutes after a high-sticking penalty, Shawn Bowles took a drop pass from his brother Brad and beat Hunter Miska over the glove at 19:59.
Portage then went ahead midway through the middle stanza, as defenseman Brett Orr fired a puck from the boards that found its way past everyone. Orr’s shot from the left-wing hit a Vee skate in front before bouncing in past Miska at 10:56.
Penticton had a couple cracks at tying the game inside the final nine-minutes of the second. Dakota Conroy just missed his backhand attempt on a partial break, and Steen Cooper clanged his shot off the crossbar on an odd-man rush.
Newell brought the Vees back level early in the third on a great individual effort. Newell stripped the defenseman of the puck, tuck it through his legs then, as he walked into the middle, roofed his shot over Zac Robidoux’s glove at 2:14.
Jago got the PCU Centre rocking midway through the third, as the Terriers rear-guard ripped a shot from the slot over Miska’s glove at 12:10. Jago crept into the slot and took a pass from the corner and made no mistake.
The Vees ran into penalty trouble late, as they took back-to-back-to-back minors inside the final six-minutes, which handcuffed their comeback attempt.
Final Score: 3-2 Portage
Shots: 33-32 Penticton
Power-Plays: Penticton 0-4 Portage 1-5
Patrick Newell was named the Player of the Game for Penticton with his two-goal effort. Brad Bowles was the Portage Player of the Game after collecting two assists. Hunter Miska stopped 29 of 32 shots in his RBC Cup debut.
The Vees are right back at it this afternoon, May 10, when they face the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Melfort Mustangs; puck drop is 12 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or watch online at www.fasthockey.com.