The Pembina Valley Twisters are down 3-1 in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League Finals.
The Twisters are on the brink of elimination with Game 5 going down tonight, however, Portager Tyler Van Deynze still has confidence in his teammates. The forward says it's been a back-and-forth series thus far but notes if they can stay locked in, the team knows they can win three straight games.
"There's been a lot of ups and downs. We're down 3-1 in the series right now, but they've all been tight games," Van Deynze explains. "We're tightly matched teams, so it should still be a long series, I believe."
Van Deynze outlines the biggest keys to taking down the St. James Jr. Canucks.
"They play really fast, and they're super skilled," says Van Deynze. "I think we just have to keep slowing them down and be solid defensively. If we do that, things should go in our favour."
The former Portage Terrier says it's been an extremely fun season for himself, personally, as he scored over a point per game. He ended the season with 17 goals and 24 assists, totalling 41 points. Van Deynze notes more than half of his production came before he was with Pembina Valley, as he was traded to the Twisters from the Stonewall Jets at the league's trade deadline.
"It was a pretty neat experience actually," Van Deynze continues. "I played all three of my years in the MJHL in Portage and was never traded. So, it was pretty neat to come to a new team mid-season. They were all super welcoming, and I've been having a good time."
During the postseason run, Van Deynze is third on the team in points with 11 through 15 games. The local says his only priority all year has been to get to hold the trophy when everything is said and done.
"Just winning, that's been the goal since day one. Even when I was in Stonewall, it's always been about winning for me," says Van Deynze. "I'm going to do my best to help us do that. It would be the icing on the cake for my Junior Hockey career."
Van Deynze and the Twisters look to keep their season alive on the road tonight in Game 5 against the St. James Canucks. Puck drop is set for 7:00.