Just a quick post as I'm running out the door. The game, a 6-3 win for Portage was actually pretty simple to analyse.
Portage - Came with the intensity and fire you would expect in Game 5 of the Anavet Cup, and now leads 3-2 in the series.
La Ronge - Came out flat for the second night in a row, but didn't recover, and now trails 3-2 in the series.
It was a flatteringly close game for La Ronge thanks to some very strong play from Aaron Enns with his beautiful dangle in the second and jamming the puck in later in the frame. The Terriers played their best all around game of the series, and the Ice Wolves looked a lot more like the team that dropped two straight in Portage.
It's a tough series to talk about from the La Ronge perspective because I don't want to take anything away from the team up 3-2 in the series right now. The Terriers are playing very solid. Bus legs and discipline got them in Games 3 and 4, but other than that, they have their system and they are executing it very effectively. They don't have that superstar like a Marc-Andre Carre, but that works well for them because the Terriers are playing a great team game.
The Ice Wolves have not played inspired hockey in this series. As a group that played so well as a team through the season and playoffs, there are a lot more individuals on the ice right now. I don't know why that is, maybe guys are getting tired, scouts are in the house are they trying to make that cute play to get noticed? There are a lot of questions right now for the Ice Wolves as they head to Manitoba. They need to answer them before the puck drops in Game 6. I have no doubt the team I watched in the SJHL Final can come back from the precipice they find themselves at.
The Ice Wolves need to find that gear and shift to it right away or it will be lights out in Portage. I would expect with their backs against the wall, the Wolves will be able to come out with some strong push back, but they need to do it together.
At the beginning of the season, the team said the goal was Camrose. Not just an SJHL Championship and a visit to the Anavet Cup. They want to be where they were last year. Now with time running out, it's time for them to prove it.
See you in Portage.