Portage la Prairie, Man.
THERIEN GETS SHUTOUT, CANADIANS BLANK THUNDERBIRDS AT RBC CUP
JASON LA ROSE
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Guillaume Therien turned away all 27 shots he faced to lead the Carleton Place Canadians to a 4-0 win over the Soo Thunderbirds in the first game for both Saturday at the 2015 RBC Cup.
Therien became the first goaltender to record a shutout at Canada’s National Junior A Championship since Surrey Eagles netminder Michael Santaguida, who blanked both the Truro Bearcats and Minnesota Wilderness at the 2013 tournament in Summerside, P.E.I.
Jordan Larson and Andy Sturtz paced the offence with three points apiece; Larson scored twice and added an assist, while Sturtz had a goal and two helpers. Owen Stewart, the third member of the line, had two assists.
Wesley Baker was the other goal scorer for Carleton Place.
Sturtz, one of seven Canadians back from the team that lost the RBC Cup championship game to Yorkton last year, opened the scoring at 7:19, going to the backhand on a breakaway to beat Soo goaltender Mario Culina.
Both teams turned up the offence in the second period, combining for 35 shots – 20 for Carleton Place and 15 for the Thunderbirds – though only the Canadians would find the back of the net.
Baker took advantage of a scramble in front of Culina just past the four-minute mark of the middle frame, finally knocking the puck past the Soo goaltender on the fifth try.
Larson’s first of the game came at 18:37 of the second; he cruised into the slot and hammered a one-timer past Culina off a feed from Sturtz to send the East Region champions to the dressing room up 3-0.
He added his second at 13:30 of the third, roofing a puck from in very tight after Sturtz did the hard work to get the puck to the net.
The Thunderbirds had their chances, but either couldn’t get the puck to bounce their way or were turned away by Therien, who has started all seven of the Canadians’ RBC Cup games over the last two years.
Carleton Place sees the ice next on Sunday night when they meet the host Portage Terriers (7 p.m. CT) in a match-up of Day 1 winners, while the Thunderbirds will have Sunday off before facing the Melfort Mustangs in Monday’s lone game (7 p.m. CT).