It was a convincing 6-1 win for La Ronge who sent fans at the Mel home smiling for the second night in a row as they tied up the Anavet Cup Series at two wins between the teams.
It looked like Portage was going to rebound solidly from their Game 3 loss as they controlled most of the first period with solid board play and a good cycle in the Wolves zone. Adam Bartko played his best game of the series for the Ice Wolves and limited the Terriers to one goal that hit two sticks, a skate and one of those darn beach balls on it's way in. Of course I'm exaggerating, but it seemed to happen in slow motion and I definitely saw it re-direct a couple of times.
The Terriers couldn't hold onto the lead though as Justin Ducharme made a nice play with the Ice Wolves on a powerplay to find Travis Eggum in front and send the game to the break tied. Unfortunately for the Terriers, Eggum was just getting warmed up.
Eggum had his chances through the first few games and had picked up a couple of goals, but was frustrated at not burying the bulk of some very good opportunities. He made up for it in Game 4 as he triggered the fish tossing four times. With his ridiculous performance, Eggum now has more goals than any of the Terriers do points. To be fair, it wasn't all Eggum as he was the recipient of two very nice passes, including one from Logan Herauf as he undressed the Terrier defender and worked the puck over to Eggum for the tap in.
This post may seem a little one sided today as it just never got better for Portage. The Dogs managed some push back after the 4-1 goal in the second frame, but couldn't beat Bartko and the third period totally got away from them. It seems as though when one team has a good game, the other just doesn't seem on theirs and as a result the results of the games have flip flopped back and forth on the convincing side.
The Terriers are finding out what teams in the SJHL did this season and in the playoffs. If you take penalties against La Ronge, eventually they will catch up to you. With the game all but out of reach, the Terriers lost their cool and started a parade to the penalty box. The Wolves added two powerplay goals in the final 20 and finished the night 4/12. The penalty kill was just as good for La Ronge as they killed all seven chances for the Terriers as they dominated the special teams. The Terriers powerplay has one goal in four games as the Wolves are at 93.8% on the kill. The Terriers need to get the special teams turned around or they could be in trouble in the remaining best of three series to decide who goes to Camrose.
The Wolves finished up the game by letting Ben Bula off the leash as he saw some time on the powerplay. The result, a very good tilt with the Terriers' Brett Adnum. There wasn't much of a question who the victor was in that one, as Bula drill Adnum with two shots right away possibly breaking Adnum's nose. To Admun's credit, he stayed on his feet and got back in the fight. It continued for a little with both getting their shots in until both players set for a finishing blow. Adnum missed and Bula took advantage unloading right into his counterpart's chin. That wrapped it up and Bula worked the crowd as he strolled off the ice. Bula is probably one of the best kept secrets in the SJHL, the guy comes in at 5'9 and 175 lbs, but man can he chuck 'em. I don't usually dedicate a paragraph to a fight, but it really capped off a solid forty minutes for the Ice Wolves and in a game that was pretty chippy, Bula laid down the law.
I found this video of the fight on youtube today. Enjoy!
1. Travis Eggum - LR - 4 G - Tough to argue when he's racking up goals like he did last night. His linemates are starting to find some space and create opportunities. Eggum is at his best when he just has to go to the net and make sure he buries the chances. Two goals were mostly Eggum though, he got that bomb of a shot going and Kasdorf had no chance to make saves on his rips from the slot and faceoff circle.
2. Logan Herauf - LR - 3A - His dazzling passing play to engineer one of Travis Eggum's markers earned him this star. As Curtis put it, Herauf can stick handle in a phone booth and he showed it off there. He was dangerous at the point making plays to his teammates, and if he can keep it up the Wolves will be sitting pretty.
3. Marc-Andre Carre - LR - 1 G, 2 A - The SJHL MVP is starting to get his stride back. With three points in Game 4, Carre is looking ever more dangerous. He's been impressive without the puck dishing out several stiff checks as the Wolves evened the series.
An honourable mention goes out to Doug Lindensmith who added another three assists to his totals in Game 4. Make it seven points in two games for the SJHL Second team all-star.
The Terriers just need three periods like they played in period one from Game 4. That will put them into prime real-estate to take a win from the Mel. They quieted the crowd and seemed to have everything well in hand until the Wolves got the powerplay going. The Ice Wolves need the first goal tonight as they've only scored first once in the series. It would go a long way to getting them a Game 5 win if they could snag the opening goal.
Curtis and I will have the webcast from the Mel for the final time this season for all you folks unable to get to the game. Attendance was about 900 last night again, it's the final home game of the season for the Ice Wolves so if you're in La Ronge, get out there and back the pack!
Enjoy this very important Game 5!