The nation’s widely-considered top Junior ‘A’ hockey team looked like its old self after a minor hiccup.
The MJHL champion Portage Terriers, featuring Fort Frances native Davis Ross on defence, rebounded from an opening loss with a 6-3 win over the Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) yesterday in their second game at the Western Canada Cup in Fort McMurray, Alta.
The Terriers were upset 3-1 by the host Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) in their first game Saturday.
Portage posted an eye-popping 53-3-4 record during the regular season, then went a perfect 12-0 in the MJHL playoffs to capture the title.
The Terriers don’t need to win the Western Canada Cup to advance to the RBC Cup national championship May 9-17 as they already are assured a berth as the host team.
Ross, the twin brother of Fort Frances Lakers’ forward Nolan Ross, had four goals and 26 assists in 51 games during the regular season.
He added four goals and four assists in 12 playoff games
But Ross has yet to register a point in the first two games of the Western Canada Cup, which also includes the Penticton Vees (BCHL) and Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL).
Portage has today off before returning to action tomorrow night against Penticton.
The tournament final goes Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Dudley Hewitt Cup—to determine the Central Canada Junior ‘A’ champs—runs tomorrow through Saturday (April 28-May 2) at the Ice For Kids Arena here.
The four-team tournament opens with the Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL) facing the Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) at 2 p.m.
The two-time defending SIJHL champion Lakers begin play tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. against the Toronto Patriots (OJHL).
Opening ceremonies will precede the game at 7 p.m.