Terriers rebounding for RBC 0
Usually, a team has to let a bitter Game 7 loss linger with it for an entire summer.
The Portage Terriers are an exception, as they'll have the opportunity for redemption when they begin the RBC Cup tournament Sunday against the Soo Thunderbirds in Humboldt, Sask.
After surging back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a deciding Game 7, Portage lost 4-0 on Sunday night to the RBC Cup host Humboldt Broncos to relinquish the ANAVET Cup.
At a send-off for the team organized by the Portage Terriers Ladies Auxiliary on Wednesday, head coach Blake Spiller said the team hasn't shown as much jump in practice as they have in previous ice times, but noted that there was still time to rejuvenate in advance of the tournament.
"After playing a seven-game series, we're still a little bit tired," said Spiller. "I'm sure we'll get better as the week goes on.
"Our guys definitely showed that they wanted to win. They wanted to defend the ANAVET, and are a little disappointed that we didn't win it, especially after fighting back from down 3-0."
However, Spiller expects that Wednesday night's event, where fans serenaded the team with a 'Go Terriers Go' chant after receiving autographs from the players, will help refocus the team for the challenge ahead.
"Tonight (Wednesday) will help a lot," said Spiller. "We realize that we're going for something else now, and we can put the previous series to rest and focus on the upcoming.
"We'll continue on and hopefully we'll be ready to go."
Captain Andrew Wiebe said the Terriers need to forget about the sting of the Game 7 loss, and if they remember anything from the series, it's that they got to Game 7 and still live to fight another day.
"It's just about getting back to practice and doing the normal things," said Wiebe. "We were all pretty proud of our effort there. Obviously, we would have liked to take it, but we battled back from down 3-0 and we got to the Game 7. That's ultimately where we needed to be."
Goalie Adam Iwan, who received the Joe Sponarski Memorial Trophy on Wednesday as playoff MVP, said the Terriers will look forward to meeting the Broncos on Thursday evening.
"We were pretty rattled to come back home after Game 7," said Iwan. "You obviously want to win, but we know we face them last game in the round robin, so we'll get them back then."
For more, please see Friday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.