Dating back to the regular season, the Terriers have now rattled off 13 consecutive wins — including an impressive seven straight in the MJHL playoffs — and look to book their place in the finals for the first time since 2016-17, a season which saw them win their third of three consecutive MJHL championships.
The Terriers swept the Waywayseecappo Wolverines in the first round, and currently lead the Virden Oil Capitals 3-0 heading into Thursday night’s potential series-clinching Game 4 at Tundra Oil and Gas Place in Virden. What’s even more impressive during this year’s playoff run for Portage is that until falling behind 1-0 early in the first period of Game 3, the Terriers had not trailed in any game during the 2018-19 playoffs.
Former Terrier captain Chase Brakel, who returned to the club after leaving Cornell of the NCAA and joining Portage in January, has been leading the way for Portage in the playoffs, registering at least a point in all but one game while leading his team with 11 points (2G, 9A) in seven games. Reigning MJHL Player of the Week Scott Mickoski, who missed the first two games of the playoffs, has put together three multi-point games and eight points (2G, 6A) in his five games in the lineup.
For the Oil Caps, Kolten Kanaski leads the MJHL in playoff goals with eight and points with 13, but has been unable to find the back of the net for the Oil Caps in the series. Kanaski has continued to contribute though, putting up four assists in the last two games. The Oil Caps have been in every game, and were within a shot of their first win of the series in Game 3, ultimately falling 3-2 in overtime with Ty Barstable notching his second goal of the series. Game 4 is set to go Thursday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place with puck drop set for 7:30.
The other semi-final between the Steinbach Pistons and Swan Valley Stampeders has been as close a series as it could get after the first three games. In Game 1, Steinbach opened the scoring in the first period, but Swan Valley answered with a pair of their own to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Pistons would end up scoring twice in 47 seconds in the third period and hang on for a 3-2 lead to draw first blood in the series.
Game 2 saw the exact same result, only with the teams trading places. Swan Valley opened the scoring before a pair of goals from Steinbach had the Pistons up 2-1 after two. The Stampeders tied the game early in the third period and the game needed extra time to decide the winner. Swan Valley’s Brady Goethals played hero, firing home his 5 goal of the season to even the series at one game apiece.
After playing the first two games in Swan Valley, the two clubs made their way to Steinbach for Game 3 on Wednesday night. It was a loud, boisterous crowd at the T.G Smith Centre, but The Stampeders managed to quiet the sellout crowd, scoring four unanswered goals in the first two periods, and despite a pair of goals from the Pistons in the third period, the Stampeders hung on for a 4-2 win, and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 of the series goes Thursday night at the T.G Smith Centre. Puck drop is set for 7:30.