By Bill Burfoot
Photo courtesy of St. James Canucks
The Pembina Valley Twisters have booked their spot in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League final with a 4-2 series win over the Stonewall Jets.
The Twisters blanked the Jets 6-0 in the deciding Game 6, backed by a 27-save performance from goaltender Travis Klassen and a great defensive effort which saw them give up just 19 shots in the first two periods, including a key 5-on-3 penalty kill when the game was still well within reach for Stonewall, to secure their place in the championship series.
Another key in the final for the Twisters was how effective they were at holding off Stonewall’s Aiken Chop in the series clinching game. Chop was outstanding all series long, tallying seven goals and eight points in the series, but was held off the scoresheet in Game 6.
Pembina Valley will now wait and see who they will face in the finals, as the St. James Canucks and Transcona Railer Express are in the midst of their own battle in the other semi-final.
Transcona jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, but Cole Chicoine scored the overtime winner for the Canucks in a critical Game 3 win to get them back in the series. Transcona answered with an overtime win of their own in a crazy Game 4, which saw the teams exchange leads throughout the game, and the Canucks eventually tying things up with just over two minutes to go with Ryan Ostermann capitalizing on a penalty shot to send the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, Logan Waskul ended the comeback bid for St James, netting his fifth of the postseason four minutes into overtime to give Transcona a 5-4 win and a commanding 3-games-to-1 lead in the series.
With their backs against the wall in Game 5, the Canucks put up their best offensive effort of the series. After giving up the game’s opening goal, the Canucks tallied with six unanswered goals and held on for a 6-2 win to stay alive in the series.
The Railer Express will be looking to close things down and book their spot in the finals against the Twisters on Friday night, while the Canucks are looking to force a Game 7. Game 6 is scheduled for 7:30 at East End Arena and if necessary, Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday at the St. James Civic Centre.