The Waywayseecappo Wolverines are set to meet the Portage Terriers in game one of round one of the MJHL playoffs on Friday night on the road.
After winning just eight games last season, the Waywayseecappo Wolverines nearly quadrupled that win total in 2018-19, finishing 28-27-2-3 for their first winning record since 2011 while earning a trip to the postseason.
Waywayseecappo last got a taste of the postseason in 2014-15 in the survivor series, when they beat the Dauphin Kings in two straight to advance where they would go on to get swept in four straight by the Portage Terriers.
The Run Down
There’s no question that the Wolverines enter this series as the underdog. Portage capped off the regular season in first place with a record of 46-11-2-1 and managed to win all six games over the Wolverines in the regular season.
In those six games, the Terriers outscored the Wolverines 33-9 while scoring six goals in five of six contests. In the one contest back on December 1st, the Wolverines lost 3-1 in Portage when Nathan Reay stopped 43 of 46 shots in the loss.
By the Numbers (Regular Season)
Goals Scored: The Terriers led the way in the regular season, scoring 277 goals in 60 games which averages out to 4.6 goals scored per game.
For the Wolverines, it was a struggle at times to put the puck in the net, but in the last two months of the season, the club certainly figured it out. Finishing with 161 goals the Wolverines averaged 2.7 goals for per game to finish eighth in that category.
Goals Against: Something the Wolverines take a lot of pride in is their ability to keep the puck out of their net. Allowing the fourth least goals against in the league with 177, their tremendous goaltending and hard work in the defensive zone can be thanked for that stat.
The Terriers are no slouches either when it comes to keeping the puck out of their net. Allowing just 150 goals against, Portage ranks second in the league in that category.
Powerplay: Of the Terriers 277 goals scored, 71 of them came on the powerplay which was good enough for first in the league with their 25% conversion rate with the man-advantage.
Waywayseecappo scored 44 goals on the powerplay, converting on 14% of their chances with the extra man. If the Wolverines powerplay can find a way in this series, it should go a long way in their success.
Penalty Kill: As previously mentioned, the Wolverines take a lot of pride in killing penalties and have to do so since leading the league with 1523 minutes. Despite that high number, the club made big strides as the season went on and held their composure better towards the end of the season finishing with the fourth best kill percentage in the league at 84.3%.
The Terriers took nearly 300 fewer penalty minutes than the Wolverines in the regular season and have an almost identical penalty kill percentage at 84.1%.
Waywayseecappo led the league in short-handed goals with ten which saw rookie forward Conrad Phillips lead the way with four goals.
While all of those stats are real and in the record books, they can all be thrown away as every stat in the postseason starts back at zero.
Keys to the Game
The Wolverines will need to keep their composure and stay discipline throughout their series against the Terriers if they want to have success. With the number one powerplay in the league, Portage can certainly make you pay for your mistakes in a big way.
Veteran Goaltender, Isaac LaBelle will need to be at MVP form to help stop the Terriers potent offensive attack. Fans can expect the 20-year-old to put it all on the line entering this first-round series.
Getting off to a quick start on the road will be huge for the Wolverines. If the club can use their speed and stay hard on pucks and get one early to get the crowd out of the game, it will go a long way if the Wolverines want to steal game one on the road.
News and Notes
The Wolverines enter the postseason just about at 100% health and will have a full stable of horses to choose from in game one.
Jaymes Knee will finish serving his two-game suspension on Friday night and will make his return to the lineup on Sunday in game two.
You can watch tonights game on hockeytv.com or follow along on social media…
mjhl_Wolverines – Twitter
Wayway Wolverines – Facebook
Instagram – wolverines_mjhl