Terriers' RBC ticket punched 0
Portage Terriers defenceman Yvan Pattyn stretches out during practice at the PCU Centre on Sunday. DAN FALLOON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY
In terms of pure survival, the Portage Terriers won't play another meaningful game until May 5 at the earliest.
But don't tell that to players and staff, as the club intends to put its best foot forward at the ANAVET Cup series that is slated to begin Friday night in Humboldt, Sask. against the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Broncos.
However, with Humboldt already hosting the RBC Cup from May 5 to 13 and guaranteeing themselves a berth as host, the West berth goes to the Terriers automatically.
Brendon Fornwald certainly has something to play for, as the Broncos traded the 20-year-old to Portage in December. The grinding forward from Lampman, Sask. played a total of 34 games for the Broncos over the last two seasons.
"It's exciting, for sure," said Fornwald. "It's the ANAVET Cup. It's a big deal and we want to go there and win. That's the goal. That's why we play the games.
"It'll be exciting to be in familiar territory, but at the same time, we're there to win and nothing less."
Fornwald said he was thrilled to regain the opportunity to play at the RBC Cup, but wasn't looking past the upcoming series.
"I feel very fortunate for sure. I feel like it worked out well, but at the same time, we have the ANAVET ahead of us here first," said Fornwald. "The RBC's a ways away. We need to win this first and that's our goal.
"We want to go in through the front door, and not the back door. That's what we're here for."
Fornwald said he's ready to go hard on the ice this week in preparation for Friday's opener at Elgar Peterson Arena at 8:30 p.m. Manitoba time.
"It's just going to be a work of preparing this week in practice," said Fornwald. "The coaches are looking into things, and we'll prepare with the best game plan for Game 1.
"We'll adjust as the game goes on. They're a very good team and we definitely have our work cut out for us, but I think if we play our game, we'll be just fine."
'A' game needed
Captain Andrew Wiebe said the Terriers respect the Broncos as the SJHL champs, and knows his club will have to be at its best.
"Obviously, they're a good team," said Wiebe. "They have, I'm sure, four solid lines and and from what we hear, they've got solid D and good goalies.
"They're going to be a tough opponent. We know that and we're going to have to bring our 'A' game."
Wiebe reiterated that the Terriers are going to come out hungry and will play as though they have no fallback.
"We don't want to be that team that just limps into the RBC because we already have the bye," said Wiebe. "We're going to come and play like we would if we weren't guaranteed at all and we're going to try to win the series."
For more, please see Monday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.