The Portage Islanders will enter the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League playoffs in second place after Carman's loss to Morden Saturday night. The jump up in the standings will now pit them against the Winkler Royals in their opening playoff series.
"Winkler's a good team," says Islander Jeremy Brooks. "They've got good goaltending and they compete hard, they never quit so we need to take the series seriously and get on them early. We can't give them a chance to be in the series, we want to be able to control it right from game one."
The season series between the clubs is 2-1 in favour of the Islanders. They came back to finish the season strong with five straight wins after losing eight in-a-row from December to mid-January.
"Playing our game was a big part of the end of the season push," says Brooks. "We started off the second half in a bit of a slump so our goal was to get back on track and back to playing the way we usually do, and I think we did that. There's a lot better mood in the dressing room now and it's fun to go into the playoffs with this kind of attitude."
"It's definitely exciting being here as a newer team," adds Brooks. "Teams may still not know us very well and we use that to our advantage. We have guys that want to compete and guys that want to win so it's definitely exciting. We want to see a lot more people come out to our playoff games and support us through a good playoff run."
Only one SEMHL playoff series has been set as of Sunday evening. Notre Dame and Stonewall play game one of their best of five series tonight in Notre Dame.