Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 24

PORTAGE TERRIERS WIN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Head coach and GM Blake Spiller’s plan was to build a national contender and now his Portage Terriers will spend the 2015-16 season as the defending Canadian Jr. A hockey champions. By Scott Taylor Photos by Bruce Fedyck PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE – Blake Spiller always had a plan. His only fear was that one or a number of the players he had assembled in Portage la Prairie last season would suffer injuries and wouldn’t be available to play. “That was probably the biggest reason we were as successful as we were,” said Spiller. “We were relatively healthy all year. We were deep enough in case it didn’t happen and we suffered a few injuries, but it never did. We had guys who were healthy every night, talented guys, who didn’t get a lot of opportunity to play because we were so healthy all year long. That was fortunate for us and kind of unfortunate for them. “It was a long haul, but we had great personnel and we had a plan. We stuck to it. We had a 24 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015 lot of games that could have gone either way but they went our way because of commitment, or good goaltending or breaks. You have to get good bounces and we got our share of good bounces.” Back in early May, on home ice at the PCU Centre in Portage, Shawn Bowles had a goal and two assists to lead head coach Spiller