Robin's Review

A quartet of area players helped power the Portage Terriers to a national Junior A hockey championship. Virden’s Landon Peel and the Elkhorn trio of Shawn Bowles, Bradley Bowles, and Brett Orr all played important roles as the Terriers won the Royal Bank Cup in Portage a Prairie. Portage downed the Carleton Place Canadians, 5-2, in the championship tilt in front of the hometown fans May 17.

“The thing I'll remember most about this team is how everyone worked together to get the job done,” Bradley Bowles wrote in an Internet interview. “We have a phenomenal coaching staff who prepares us for games as well as pushing us to get better.

Everyone has such close friendships with each other and we just grew as a team all year long. It's unbelievable to end the year off like this but at the same time it's tough to see everyone go
their separate ways. All I can say is it's been an unforgettable year with a bunch of great friends. We did it!”

The championship game was televised on TSN and the local area was well represented. On TV, viewers could spot players’ parents as well as friends and supporters.

Former Elkhorn resident Bob Lund, who used to play for the Terriers with his late brother Chad, manned the penalty box as a volunteer and was shown on TV.

He said it was exciting to see his old team win because there are so many good people in the Terriers organization that have been involved for years.
“I have never seen a team that worked so hard and dedicated to winning,” Lund wrote in an Internet interview. “I guess it paid off because they are the best junior team in Canada and with
that being said they are the best in the world.”

Winning the national championship capped off Peel’s junior career in style. The 21-year-old son of Brian and Joan Peel was counted on for solid, veteran blue line play and also chipped
in offensively for the Terriers. At the RBC Cup, he recorded two points. During the season Portage head coach Blake Spiller praised Peel for the way the former Western Hockey League player identified the need for and embraced a defensive role.

Watching from the penalty box, Lund was proud of the trio of players from his hometown. “They worked so hard on and off the ice so to see them accomplish what they did I was very happy for them,” Lund wrote. “They are such good guys and they represent Elkhorn very well. It shows they come from good family and small community values.”

During the round robin portion of the RBC Cup, Bradley Bowles had four goals, including a hat trick, and eight points in four games. Awards are handed out after the round robin and Bowles was named the Most Valuable Player, Top Forward, and Top Scorer.

Bowles scored in the finals to help the Terriers claims the championship.

Shawn Bowles, the other 19-year-old twin son of Delbert and Sally Bowles, lit the lamp in the finals and finished the championship game with three points. He collected six points during
the RBC Cup and was third on the team in scoring.

Orr, the son of Keith and Brenda, scored in the RBC Cup semifinals to help the team to a 6-1 victory over the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melfort Mustangs. The
defenceman, who just completed his 18-year old season, also scored in a 3-2 win over the B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees in the Terriers’ opening game of the tournament. Orr battled an injury earlier in the season and returned to be a valuable contributor.

The Terriers dominated the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s regular season and the playoffs.

They went 53-3-4 record during the regular season and topped the national rankings. Portage had two 14-game winning streaks and one of 13 games. The Terriers set
league records for winning percentage, fewest regulation losses and fewest total losses in a season. In the MJHL postseason, Portage was 12-0.

In Fort McMurray, the Terriers finished second to Penticton in the Western Canada Cup. Usually the top two teams from the event advance to the RBC Cup. However, with Portage already
in as the hosts, Melfort also earned a berth.

At the RBC Cup, Portage went 3-1 in the round robin. The only black mark was a 3-0 loss to the Canadians, the 2014 RBC Cup finalists, which the Terriers avenged in the finals.

“Heading into the final game I felt our team was just eager to get it started,” Bradley Bowles wrote. “Everyone was ready to go and it's aneasy game to wake up for. There was lots of
talk in the room before the game of what we needed to do to get the win, and I felt the whole team was just ready for the game.”

The championship was the Terriers’ second national title. They won the 1973 Centennial Cup, which at the time pitted the easy and west champs in a best-of-seven series. Portage was the first host team to win the RBC Cup since Weyburn in 2005 and the first MJHL squad since Selkirk in 1974.

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