Wednesday September 03, 2014

Terriers lone returnee at WCC

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Playoff MVP Chase Norrish, an extremely talented offensive defenceman, led the Terriers all post-season long with his effort, heart and attitude. Here he tests Mils goalie Isaiah Plett, himself a star, during the Canalta Cup finals.

The Yorkton Terriers are the only team returning from year one of the Western Canada Cup.

The Terriers topped the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for a second straight season, and will be looking to improve on a WCC finish in 2013 which saw them eliminated in the final game of the tourney 1-0 by the Brooks Bandits who went on to win the Royal Bank Cup.

The Terriers were the SJHL's top team in the regular season finishing with 81-points based on a record of 37-12-2-5, six points better than Battlefords.

The Terriers scored a league leading 186 regular season goals, and were stingy on defence allowing only 125, again best in the league.

The Terriers finished the regular season with an 8-1-0-1 record in their final 10-games.

Coming to the Terriers from Flin Flon just before the SJHL trade deadline Brett Boehm would be the top scorer on the team with a combined 31-goals and 66 points, second best in the loop.

Boehm was the Player of the Month in March in the SJHL.

Tayler Thompson was fourth in the SJHL regular season with 61-points.

Chase Norrish was 11th in league scoring, and the SJHL's top scoring rearguard with nine-goals and 45-points.

Twin brother Brady Norrish had 30-points.

Third year Terrier Chase Norrish was named Defenceman of the Year in the SJHL.

"It's obviously comforting to get something like that," said the 20-year-old rearguard. "It's great to get something like that.

"It means a lot. I didn't expect anything like this."

But Norrish said awards like Top Defenceman are not something you earn without help. He noted when the offence is scoring like the Terriers have all season, they led the league in team scoring with 186 goals, it helps the defence.

"It makes my job a lot easier," he said.

Norrish, a blueliner who is every bit as capable on the offensive side of the game, said a lot of his offence comes from skating.

"Skating is a big part of the game now," he said, adding when he looks at the importance of skating he does so in using his speed "the whole length of the ice."

Overall Norrish, 20, said it has been teammates who have allowed him to play his game.

"I just play the game how I know I can," he said. "I just try to keep my head focused on every game … I just try to do my best every game and every period."

In net Kale Thomson appeared in an SJHL high 45-games, finishing with a league-best 31 wins, and a league regular season record eight shut-outs, breaking the old mark of seven set by former Humboldt Bronco Taylor Nelson.

Thomson's career mark of 10 shutouts ties him with Nelson for second overall behind former Weyburn Red Wing AJ Whiffen, who posted 11 in his career.

"It's pretty cool," said the 20-year-old netminder. "Obviously holding a record is cool. I've never held a record in anything else."

Thomson said he only learned of his achievement via some Twitter posts online. "I was surprised," he said. He said he had actually talked about the record pre-season, and was told it was "around 10" so he had thought he had fallen short of the mark.

Thomson added with a smile as he looks back on the season "I could have had two or three more."

Thomson then quickly turned the focus away from himself.

"Obviously a lot of it has to do with the team in front of me too," he said. "… A lot of guys are out there every night blocking a lot of shots."

Thomson added that even the forwards have contributed to his success, noting "they were keeping guys to the outside," so when shots did come his way, he could see them.

Thomson posted a 1.89 goals against average in the regular season. and a .934 save percentage.

The Terriers squared off with Notre Dame in their opening round of the playoffs, dropping Game Two in Wilcox, before eliminating the Hounds in five games.

Next up was Humboldt, who managed to steal Game One of their semi final season in triple overtime at the Farrell Agencies Arena in Yorkton.

The Broncos would get to overtime three more times, but succumbed in five games after winning the series opener.

The league final had the Terriers facing arch rival Melville. The cities, 30-clicks apart, had never met in a league final before, but under a new playoff format, the dream final for East Central Saskatchewan was set.

The Mils looked poised to win the series opener 1-0 in Yorkton, but Boehm tied the game with Thomson pulled in favour of an extra skater with 40-seconds left on the clock.

The Terriers would win Game Two in O.T. as well, one of six extra time victories in the playoffs, then go on to sweep the Mils in four to win the Canalta Cup for the second straight season.

Through 14 playoff games the Terriers scored 52 goals (Melville the other SJHL finalist had 27), and allowed only 28.

Boehm led playoff scorers in the SJHL with 10-goals and had 16 points, to equal linemate Tyler Giebel for the point lead.

One point off the lead was the SJHL's top scoring defenceman in the playoffs Chase Norrish with 15. Norrish would be named playoff MVP.

Kailum Gervais,who scored the Canalta Cup winner in Melville April 16, had 11 playoff points, with Tayler Thompson joining the Terrier ranks of players with double-digit points with 10.

Kale Thomson would find himself in a few shoot-outs in the playoffs, including losing a 6-5 decision in triple overtime, but by playoff's end he led the SJHL goaltenders with a 1.74 goals against average, to go with a .939 save percentage, and adding one shut out, that coming in the deciding game of the Cup finals in Melville's barn.

The Terriers will kick off the Western Canada Cup in Dauphin on Saturday, April 26 against the MJHL champion Winnipeg Blues at 2:00p.m. Manitoba time, before taking on the host Dauphin Kings on Sunday, April 27 at 7:00p.m. Manitoba time.

The Terriers have Monday off before a 2:00p.m. afternoon game against the AJHL champion Spruce Grove Saints. The Terriers will then wrap up the WCC round-robin with a 7:00p.m. game on Wednesday, April 30, against the BCHL Coquitlam Express.

All game times are listed in Manitoba time.

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