HUMBOLDT, Sask. – Andrew Wiebe scored with 47.1 seconds left in the second overtime to end the longest RBC Cup game in five years and give the Portage Terriers a 4-3 win over the Soo Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon.
The game was the first to go past one overtime since the Prince George Spruce Kings and Camrose Kodiaks played the longest game in tournament history in a 2007 semifinal; Prince George beat Camrose 3-2 on a goal scored early in the fifth extra frame.
Before Wiebe’s heroics it was the line of Brent Wold, Mike Gemmill and Brendan Harms that led Portage (1-0). The trio were in on all three of the Terriers’ goals in regulation time – Wold scored twice and added an assist, Gemmill had a goal and two helpers and Harms had three assists.
The Terriers won their first game for the fourth time in as many appearances at the National Junior A Championship; Portage won the 1973 national title in a best-of-seven series against the Pembroke Lumber Kings, but didn’t win again after their opener in both 2005 and 2011, missing out on the semifinals both years.
One day after making 44 saves in the Thunderbirds’ win over Penticton, John Kleinhans stopped 68 of 72 shots for the Soo (1-1), giving him a ridiculous 112 saves on 117 shots through two games – a .957 save percentage.
Nick Romano, Greg Sartoretto and Matt Amadio scored the goals for the Thunderbirds, who erased three one-goal deficits to force overtime despite being outshot 48-26 in regulation time. Overall, the Soo was on the short end of a 72-44 shot clock.
Portage tries for its first 2-0 start in 39 years when it takes on the Woodstock Slammers in Monday’s lone game (7:30 p.m. MT), while the Thunderbirds see the ice next on Tuesday afternoon against the host Humboldt Broncos (3 p.m. MT).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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