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Thursday, 18 April 2013 11:39

Broncos forward beats Broncos in league final

Written by  Brad Brown
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Just because you’re wearing a Broncos jersey doesn’t mean you’re a friend of Dakota Odgers.

Odgers, also a Swift Current Broncos forward, assisted on the game’s first goal Sunday as the Yorkton Terriers won the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship with a 4-3 win over the Humboldt Broncos.
The game was Odgers’ eighth with the Terriers, whom he rejoined after the Swift Current Broncos were eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs.
“It was like a dream,” the just-turned 17-year-old said Monday. “There are really no words to describe how good it felt. I grabbed my brother immediately and gave him a big hug. It was just an amazing feeling. Everyone was so happy. It was such a high and the crowd was going nuts.”
Everyone should be so fortunate.
The SJHL final was actually Odgers’ third shot at a championship in 2012-13.
He played six WHL games in Swift Current to start the season before asking to be reassigned, feeling his development would be better served as a leader with the Yorkton Harvest of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
Odgers, picked 24th overall by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, scored twice in his return to the Harvest and finished the year second on the team in scoring with 47 points in 38 games.
By the time the Harvest were bumped from the playoffs in the first round, his decision to leave Swift Current in the first place was water under the bridge and he returned to the Broncos for two regular season games and all five playoff games in their first-round loss to Calgary.
It was a bitter defeat — for reasons you’ve already heard ad nauseum — yet proved as critical as anything all season to what was yet to come for Odgers.
“It was huge,” he said. “Watching a guy, and I really use this example a lot, like Adam Lowry, how he competes every night as a player, every shift, he never takes one off. He’s a guy I try to look up to in that way.
“He sets the bar high and does what it takes to win.”
Odgers and the Broncos returned home from Calgary in the wee hours of the morning March 29.
That night, Odgers was in the Terriers’ lineup and assisted on the game-winning goal as they pushed Melville to the brink of elimination in the south division final.
Playing a support role on the second line he scored in each of the Terriers’ next four games and finished the SJHL playoffs with eight points in eight games – fifth on the team and 16th in the entire league.
He also saw penalty kill time and was one of the players on the ice defending the Terriers’ one-goal lead with less than 20 seconds to play in the Game 6 clincher.
“Probably the main thing is that he has no fear out there at all,” said Terriers head coach Trent Cassan. “His feet are always moving too. He gets himself in the right positions, he reads the play well and he trains very hard off the ice to keep himself in good condition to play against older guys.
“Those things have really helped him and he doesn’t second-guess himself. He has a lot of confidence in his abilities.”
Making the victory sweeter for Odgers was the chance to share the championship with his older brother John, who just finished his second season with the Terriers.
“He’s been a huge role model for me all my life,” said Odgers. “We have a really close relationship and that was really icing on cake for all of us skating out there … and having pictures taken with him and the trophy and my dad.”
Next up for the Terriers is the Western Canada Cup, a five-team tournament from which the champion and runner up will advance to the RBC Cup national championship.
It will be played April 26-May 5 in Nanaimo, B.C. and features the four provincial junior A champions from Manitoba west along with a host team.
“I obviously wasn’t coming in expecting things to go the way they did,” said Odgers. “It was just one of those moments people always talked about where in hockey you have one chance and you’ve just got to take a hold of it.”

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