The action kicked off today, and we'll have updates throughout the week as colleague and friend Jeremie Gauvin is at the PCU Centre! Jeremie was more than excited all last week to head out to Portage for the games, and he'll recap all the action happening! Of course, because he's working as a linesman out at the RBC Cup, he can't show favoritism one way or the other, but he'll have a first-hand perspective for the majority of the games!
I'll provide a little history on the two teams before I post Jeremie's report in yellow, and I'll add some highlights below his recap. Here is Day One at the RBC Cup!
The Penticton Vees met the host Portage Terriers in the opening game of the RBC Cup. The Vees last won the RBC Cup in 2012, and seem to be in the running for one of the spots at the RBC Cup each and every year. The Terriers last won the RBC Cup when in 1973 when it was called the Centennial Cup in just their fifth appearance at the tournament. Since 1985, the host teams have won the RBC Cup just six times with the Weyburn Red Wings being the last team to do so in 1985.
The RBC cup kicked off with a rematch of the Western Canada Cup Finals one week ago. Penticton opened the scoring in the first period. It wasn't until the end of the period with 0.3 seconds left on the clock when Portage evened it up. In the second, Portage took the lead. That lead was short lived as Penticton evened it up shortly. In the third period, the paces picked up, as both teams were hungry for that win. Portage would strike with 8:00 minutes left in the third. Portage would take game one by a score of 3-2 and the hometown crowd went home happy!
Penticton's Patrick Newell would open the scoring at 5:22 for the tournament's first goal as Jeremie wrote. Portage would indeed tie the game in the final second of the first period as Shawn Bowles' power-play marker would count before the horn sounded, and the two teams would retire to the dressing rooms knotted up at 1-1. The Terriers would take the 2-1 lead on Brett Orr's goal at 10:56 of the second period, and that score would carry into the intermission. Just 2:14 into the third, Penticton's Patrick Newell added his second goal of the game to make it a 2-2 game. Portage would retake the lead at 12:10 when Tanner Jugo's goal put Portage up 3-2, and they wouldn't relinquish this lead!
Portage's Zac Robidoux made 31 saves on 33 shots for the win while Penticton's Hunter Miska made 29 saves on 32 shots despite picking up the loss. Penticton will meet the Melfort Mustangs in the early game on Sunday while the Portage Terriers will tangle with the Carleton Place Canadians in the late game. Tickets are still available for both games!
The late game in Portage la Prairie featured the Soo Thunderbirds and the Carleton Place Canadiens. The Thunderbirds have not won the RBC Cup, finishing fourth in 2012, but are back for the second appearance in the last few years. The Canadiens lost in the final last in last year's RBC Cup, so you know they want to correct that notation in the history books.
The Carleton Place Canadians are back at the RBC cup for the second straight year and are looking for a better result after loosing in the final to Yorkton last season in the championship game. With 9 players returning this year, it was evident as they jump out to a 1-0 lead after the first period. In the second period, the Canadians kept the pressure on the Soo Thunderbirds by increasing their lead to 3-0 after the second period. The Canadians were also awarded a penalty shot in the second period. In the third period, Carleton Place kept pushing for more and it wouldn’t take long for them to strike with a beauty of a goal! The Canadians ended up taking the second game of the tournament by a score of 4-0.
Andy Sturtz had the CPC marker in the first period, and he was joined by Wesley Baker and Jordan Larson in the second period, and Larson added his second goal in the third period for the 4-0 victory. Guillaume Therien was perfect against the 26 shots he faced while Mario Culina made 33 stops on the 37 shots he faced. Carleton Place starts the tournament with a strong showing as they shutout the Central representative Soo Thunderbirds!
As stated above, the Canadiens have a date with the Terriers in Sunday's late game as both teams are 1-0, so one of these teams will fall in the standings. The Thunderbirds get time to regroup as they have Sunday off before meeting the Melfort Mustangs in Monday's only game at 7pm CT.
If you're looking to catch any of the preliminary round action or semifinal action, all of those games will be broadcast via the FASTHockey webcast. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, May 17 at 8pm ET and will be broadcast nationally on TSN and RDS.
Look for additional recaps as the tournament progresses from Jeremie Gauvin right here on HBIC! As we get into the playoff round, Jeremie will have deeper coverage of the games. If you have a chance, get out to Portage la Prairie and see some of Canada's best Junior-A hockey players!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!