The Yorkton Terriers are Western Canada Cup champions, and are now headed to the Royal Bank Cup tournament starting Saturday in Vernon, B.C.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Terriers had gone 2-2 through the round robin WCC tournament in Dauphin, to end up in the Cup final versus the host Dauphin Kings.
Brett Boehm started the scoring in the first period striking 3:35 into the first period.
Ten-minutes later Dylan Butler tied the game with a goal at 13:32.
Boehm would restore a one-goal lead with his second of the night at 15:55.
Tanner Butler would score the only goal of the second period to tie the game for the Kings.
The third would see the offences catch some traction scoring a combined five goals.
Tayler Thompson gave the Terriers a 3-2 lead with a powerplay goal at 13:37. Boehm had an assist.
Brent Wold responded for Dauphin a marker at 15:24.
And then it was Boehm scoring an unassisted marker to complete his hat trick at 16:32, and added a fourth goal at 18:42 to build a 5-3 Terrier lead.
Brayden Cuthbert would make it a one-goal lead with a Kings marker with 10-seconds left on the clock, to make it a 5-4 Terrier win.
Boehm said things certainly went his way Saturday night.
“I definitely had a lot of puck luck tonight,” he said.
Boehm said the goal which would be the eventual game-winner was a case of him going around the Kings defenceman and putting the puck into the corner where Enzie took it.
“I went to the middle,” said Boehm, adding he got the centering pass and was able to backhand it into the net. “Enzie put the puck toward the net and I backhanded it. It just trickled in.”
Asked about the third period after the Kings had tied it 3-3 and were coming on strong, Boehm said the so-called television time out at the 10 minute mark was big, as head coach Trent Cassan had the chance to tell his charges to calm things down and “keep it simple,” said Boehm.
“We knew what we had to do,” he added.
Cassan said they expected the Kings to battle, adding the game “was on their home ice.”
We knew they were going to push back.”
That said, Cassan said the Kings’ home fan base was mitigated by a strong contingent of Terrier fans making the 175-kilometre trek east for the game.
“There was all kinds of unbelievable support with 600-700 people coming every game,” said the Terrier coach.
Kale Thomson was in the Terrier net facing 27-shots in the win, while Jordan Piccolino took the loss for the Kings, also facing 27.
Thomson was again basking in a win in a season where he has been the go-to goaltender for the Terriers.
“For sure it feels great,” he said, adding “we were so close last year.”
At the 2013 WCC the Terriers lost to Brooks 1-0 in a game which sent Yorkton home and the Bandits to the RBC where they would emerge champions.
Thomson would watch the 2013 WCC from the bench.
Cassan said in the pre-game talks, they went over with Thomson how he had been patient working through a three-goaltender situation with the Terriers in 2013, and had been a good teammate when Dawson McAuley got hot last spring.
This year was Thomson’s though.
“Right from the start he’s been our top goaltender,” said Cassan, adding the win had to be special for his 20-year-old netminder.
Thomson said coming off the heartbreak of that loss the Terriers “goal was to get to the RBC,” this time around.
Last year’s finish was also first on Cassan’s mind.
“We were close last year to advancing,” he said, adding as a result this year’s win was big. “I’m so satisfied for the group of guys here,” especially the 13 players back from last year’s loss.
In the end the game was close, but Cassan wasn’t lamenting giving up four goals, noting “we’ll take it any way we can get.”
Cassan said the WCC is a tough one to win with “five exceptional teams.” He added in winning he is proud not only for the Terrier organization but “to represent the SJHL.”
Going into the WCC final Thomson said he was feeling “pretty confident” as his game had come back around after suffering a bad flu only eight days earlier.
“And the guys played great in front of me,” he added.
And of course there was Boehm.
“It was pretty unreal (watching him from the Terrier net),” said Thomson. “He’s pretty amazing, but we know what he’s capable of.”
Cassan said Boehm had a season against the Kings “scoring seven goals against Dauphin in the tournament.”
Boehm was acquired mid-season from Flin Flon to add offence, and it paid off at the WCC.
“Give him a chance he’s pretty automatic,” said Cassan.
The Terrier coach added Boehm showed a lot of character as other teams were trying to get under his skin and get him off his game, but he played through it.
Cassan said a key for the Terriers was “our top players were our top players at this tournament,” he said, noting not just Boehm, but linemates Kailum Gervais and Tyler Giebel, rearguards Chase and Brady Norrish and Devon McMullen, and netminder Thomson.
As Captain, and a fourth-year Terrier McMullen was grinning ear-to-ear after the game.
“It’s awesome,” he said, again relating “we had the one-goal loss last year” which was redeemed by hoisting the Cup this time around. “It was a heartbreak (last year). This is job done.”
McMullen said the Terrier WCC run started shaky, but the team settled and got better as the week wore on, and saved the best for last winning the title.
“Maybe the hockey gods were with us, but the bounces went our way,” he said with a grin.
And next is the Royal Bank Cup in Vernon, B.C.
“We’ve just got to keep it one game at a time. It’s the top five teams in Canada out there,” he said