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Twisters Rally From Four Goal Deficit to Win MMJHL Championship

By Bill Burfoot

Photo courtesy of the St. James Canucks

In one of the biggest Game 7 comebacks in Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League history, the Pembina Valley Twisters rallied from four goals down to beat the St. James Canucks 5-4 and hoist the Jack McKenzie Trophy as MMJHL champions Wednesday night.

Twisters Rally From Four Goal Deficit to Win MMJHL Championship

Jeremie Goderis fired home the eventual game-winner with just over eight minutes to play to secure the third MMJHL championship in Twisters history, and first since 2013.

The Morris Multiplex Arena was filled to capacity with more than 700 fans in attendance, but the home crowd wasn’t given much to cheer about in the first half of the game as the Canucks jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the midway point of the second period on goals from Cole Chicoine, Tristan Ezako, and a pair from Tyler Meixner who notched his team-leading 11thand 12thof the playoffs. 

Needing to stop the momentum, Twisters head coach Ryan Dyck used his timeout to settle down his troops after Meixner made it 4-0, and the team responded. 

Travis Penner put Pembina Valley on the board shortly after, beating Canucks netminder Nathan Cvar between the legs, and re-energizing the bench and the building that had been fairly quiet for the first 30 minutes of the game.   

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Moments later, the Twisters were awarded a power play and responded quickly, with T.J Matuszewski lighting the lamp, cutting the lead in half and sending the home town fans into a frenzy.   Before the second period would run out, Nick Hatley fired a slapshot from the point that eluded Cvar, sending the Twisters to the dressing room trailing by just one goal heading into the third period.

Pembina Valley, who needed a win in Game 6 to even force a Game 7,  were able to tie the game just five minutes into the third period with Nico Vigier capitalizing on the power play — their second power play goal of the night — to make it 4-4.  Minutes later, Goderis would beat Cvar on a wrist shot to complete the comeback.  Cvar finished the game with 36 saves, while Twisters Travis Klassen stopped 34-of-38 on the night.

The win was all the more remarkable for Pembina Valley, who finished 9thout of 10 teams just a season ago, before putting together a season which saw them finish first with 73 points (34 point improvement), collecting 35 wins (17 more than last season), scoring a league-high 244 goals, 55 more than the St. Vital Victoria’s 189, and finishing with a +110 goal differential on the season (+118 improvement from last season)

Pembina Valley forwards Jeremie Goderis and Braeden Beernaerts were named co-winners of the Chris Flintoft Memorial Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the playoffs. 

Bill Burfoot is a writer for Game On Magazine based out of Winnipeg MB. In addition to his love of writing and telling stories for gameonmag.ca, Bill also loves to tell the story of the Winnipeg Blues of the MJHL as their play by play announcer. Bill can be reached at [email protected]

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