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Thunderbirds to round out play at RBC Cup vs. Penticton

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thunderbirds to round out play at RBC Cup vs. Penticton

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. –  As was the case in their last RBC Cup appearance in 2012 in Humboldt, Sask., the Soo Thunderbirds will wrap-up play at this year’s Canadian Jr. A Championship in Portage la Prairie, Man., against the same team, the Penticton Vees (BCHL).

While it was a semifinal setback to the Vees, who went on to capture the RBC Cup in 2012, Thursday afternoon’s contest alreadys sees Sault Ste. Marie having been eliminated from semifinal contention while Penticton knows they will play for a berth to the final Saturday.

The Thunderbirds enter the contest 0-3 sitting in fifth in the standings while Penticton is 2-1 and tied for second overall.

Four different Soo players share the club lead in scoring as Owen Headrick, Anthony Miller, Eric Hillock and Joey Miller have two points apiece after three outings.

As for Penticton, here’s a look at the powerful Vees who are champions of both the British Columbia Hockey League and the Western Canada Cup.

TEAM: Penticton Vees

LEAGUE: BCHL

HEAD COACH/GM: Fred Harbinson

Under head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson, who is in his eighth season with the Vees, he has led the team to the RBC Cup crown in 2012, two BCHL championships and four Interior Division titles. He was also named the BCHL’s coach of the year twice.

In the postseason, Penticton first disposed of the West Kelowna Warriors in five games before needing the full seven to edge the rival Vernon Vipers in a best-of-seven that went the distance.

After advancing to the final the Vees went on to defeat the Nanaimo Clippers four games to two to capture the title.
 
In the playoffs, the Vees had three players in the top five among point producers.

Demico Hannoun topped the squad and was second overall with 21 points followed by Connor Chartier’s 19 and Dakota Conroy’s 18.

Defenceman Dante Fabbro had 15 points, which was the second most among BCHL blueliners while Tyson Jost was right behind him with 14 points.

Hunter Miska played every second for the Vees in the playoffs going 15-6 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

A defensively-minded club, Penticton did not have a player among the top 40 point producers in the regular season with Patrick Newell’s 47 points tying him for 41st overall in the league.

Miska led all BCHL netminders in both average and save mark in the regular season though at 1.88 and .931 respectively while going 34-9-3 overall.

At the Western Canada Cup, Penticton won it defeating the RBC Cup host Portage Terriers (MJHL) 4-3 in overtime.

That was the ninth OT game the Vees has played in the postseason having gone 6-3 in those extra time contests.

Conroy led the WCC in scoring with eight points, including two tallies.

Chartier was next with seven on five goals and two helpers.

Miska once again led all goaltenders there in average at 1.99 along with a .932 save percentage while going 4-1.

All RBC Cup round robin and semifinal games are available online via FASTHockey.com while the championship will be on TSN.

RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship
PCU Centre – Portage la Prairie, Man.
Dates: May 9-17
Competing Teams
Host: Portage Terriers (MJHL)
Central: Soo Thunderbirds (Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion)
East: Carleton Place Canadians (Fred Page Cup champion)
West 1: Penticton Vees (Crescent Point Energy Cup champion)
West 2: Melfort Mustangs (Crescent Point Energy Cup finalist)

Schedule
Saturday, May 9
Portage 3 Penticton 2
Carleton Place 4 Soo 0
Sunday, May 10
Penticton 4 Melfort 0
Carleton Place 3 Portage 0
Monday, May 11
Melfort 5 Soo 3
Tuesday, May 12
Penticton 4 Carleton Place 3
Portage 7 Soo 2
Wednesday, May 13
Melfort 4 Carleton Place 3 (OT)
Thursday, May 14
Penticton vs. Soo 3 p.m.
Portage vs. Melfort 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17
CJHL Awards Banquet
Saturday, May 16
Semifinal 1: 3 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 17
Final: 8 p.m.

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