Just killing the last hour or so before heading to the Mel Hegland Uniplex (which I'm already told is at capacity), the home of Game 7 of the SJHL Credit Union Cup Final.
This will be our 29th broadcast of the playoffs, and almost every single one has been a beauty. All five games of the Melville/Estevan survivor series, right up until now, Game 7 of the SJHL Final.
The tough part about a game like this is that it's the last game for someone, and for a great group of 20 year olds. Whose Junior career will be over after tonight?
Devin Peters or Adam Bartko?
Boyer/Buzzeo or Eggum/Herauf?
Tendler/Remenda or Fossum/Monfore?
Who'll be forced to watch their last ever Junior game?
Kurtis Decker/Keon Vick or Doug Lindensmith?
All three 20-year-olds are out with injury.
Does Bob Beatty, who's got enough rings to fill one hand, add another? Or, does Trent Cassan, in his first full season as Head Coach, lead the Terriers to a Credit Union Cup. As the interim Coach last year, Cassan and the Terriers came two wins short, falling to these same Ice Wolves in 6 games.
Regardless who wins, the script is different this year, after the Terriers' come-from-behind, 4-3 (OT) win over the Wolves Sunday in Yorkton, exactly a year after they were forced to watch La Ronge celebrate at Farrell Agencies Arena. Do they return the favour tonight in Game 7, or is the bus ride home made even longer, with a 2nd straight Ice Wolves' title?
Game 7 Stats/Facts
- If this isn't the Ice Wolves' first game seven ever, it's certainly the first in a long time. They never went to seven this year or last, and had some lean years before their championship run of 2010.
- The Terriers hadn't gone past four games in these playoffs until this final series. Their last Game 7 was in last year's Sherwood Final in Kindersley (Eston) when Kevin Stringfellow scored in overtime to send the Terriers to the Final against the Ice Wolves. Before that, I believe their last Game 7 was in the 2009 Conference Semis against Melville. The Millionaires won the first two games, Yorkton roared back to win the next three, but the Mils forced a seventh game, with a 2-1 win in Yorkton, and then took a 5-1 decision at Melville Stadium. The Mils would eventually go to the league final, where they lost to Humboldt in 5 games.
- I believe this is the sixth Game 7 I've done. The first three (including 05-06 when I was in Dauphin) were all involving Manitoba teams, and were all losses for the team I was covering. Then the '09 Melville over Yorkton game, and last year's Conference Final with Yorkton and Kindersley.
- The last SJHL Final to go seven games was in 2007-08, when the Humboldt Broncos rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Kindersley in seven. I went with Mike Stackhouse to that one, and it was an 8-2 decision. Humboldt beat Melville in 5 the next year, and La Ronge downed the Terriers in 6 a year ago.
- If La Ronge wins tonight, it would mark the 5th straight year that someone from the North, or Bauer/Itech Conference won the championship (Humboldt, Humboldt, Humboldt, La Ronge, ________). The Terriers are the last team from the South (Sherwood) to win it, back in 2006, when they won their second of back-to-back titles. Can they bring it back to the south?
7:10 Pre Game Show on GX94 (and www.gx94radio.com) , where we'll hear from both Coaches, and three Terrier players. Game 6 OT hero Craig Eisenhut, along with Clarke Breitkreuz and Zak Majkowski. Puck drop is 7:30.