Canucks stage comback to win Junior C title

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Moose Jaw comes back from 2-0 down to win best-of-five final

The Moose Jaw Canucks found that they key to shoring up their defence was to attack more.

The Moose Jaw Canucks won the Regina Junior C League title and the SHA provincial Junior C title with a 4-1 win over the Regina Brewers.

Trailing two games to none in their Regina Junior C Hockey League championship series against the Regina Brewers the Canucks looked to be more aggressive.

"We came out and tried to play more defensively in the first two games. We figured we could score more goals than they could and we were a little light on the forecheck," said Canucks head coach Jason Sather. "We had a team meeting with a select few of the guys and we changed our breakout. We flipped around some lines and made us more aggressive. We made sure that the D pinched 100 per cent of the time."

It paid off. The Canucks won Game 3 by a 3-1 score, went to Regina and won Game 4 3-1 and finished the series with a 4-1 win at the Bert Hunt Arena to claim the league and SHA provincial Junior C titles.

"The Bert Hunt was just filled. I think there were 300-plus fans there. That was huge for us as a team," said Sather. "This club has been in the league for eight or nine years and it's never won a championship. It's always been a bottom-feeder team. It was a team that liked to fight and scrap. Three years ago when I took over we decided we wanted to make this a skilled team and a team that guys would want to play for and fans would want to watch."

The Brewers won Game 1 6-2 and then were routed 9-2 in the second game in Regina.

The faster, more skilled Canucks looked to try to use their speed to their advantage to swing the momentum in their favour.

"We're more of a skilled, faster team than they are. They're more of a get-in-your-face, beat you down, hit you until your dead kind of hockey," said Sather. "When we played a fast, aggressive style of hockey, it made it a little tougher for them to catch us. They didn't have time to hit us."

The Canucks had finished first in the regular season a year ago and lost in the second round of the playoffs. They finished on top of the league standings in the regular season again as they finished 20-2-1 record.

In Game 5, Zack Evans scored twice for the Canucks, while Mitch Holick scored and Brenn Roberge also scored.

Brody Evans faced more than 60 shots in the final.

"Brody really wanted to win. He's a 21-year-old and he really wanted the cup and did whatever he could to make that happen," said Sather. "He brought his A game and we're proud of him for the way that he played."

Ben Newans, Tanner Alix, Holick, Evans and Roberge all chipped in with goals in Games 3 and 4.

Taylor Dobrescu was injured in a tournament on Feb. 14 and was expected to be out for the rest of the season with a concussion. He came back for the final two games and the Canucks' assistant captain gave them a big lift.

"We didn't think he was going to come back, but he made a point of going to his doctor and getting cleared to play for the last two games. He's such a big part of the team. He was on the bench in the playoffs, but he couldn't stand to be out of the game. He's a 21-year-old and he's an amazing guy in the room and on the ice."

Organizations: Canucks, Regina Junior C Hockey League

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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