The Battlefords North Stars erased an early two goal deficit to take a 3-2 win in game one of the Anavet Cup in Portage la Prairie.
It was Ryan Gil's goal with 51 second remaining that lifted the North Stars to the road win, completing the comeback and stunning the crowd in the Manitoba city. Cody Spagrud and Owen Lamb notched the assists.
The game did not seem to go the North Stars way for most of the contest. They were outshot 31-18, inhcluding 11-4 in the first period, but Joel Grzybowski once again was a big hero in goal, stopping 29 shots to steal the win.
Portage had gotten off to an early 2-0 first period lead on two goals by Jared Roy. The first came at the 6:13 mark with Reilly Funk and Morgan Poirier assisting; the second goal came at 18:12 from Chase Brakel and Peyton Gorski.
The first period wa also penalty filled for the North Stars with Owen Lamb taking a blow to the head penalty and Regan Doig also taking a blow to the head penalty later in the period.
It was Dylan Esau who got the North Stars back in it at the 1:01 mark of period two, with Austin Becker and Matthias Urbanski assisting.
In the third, Macgregor Sinclair tied it up with Spagrud and Becker assisting on the power play. The Terriers' Scott Mickoski had been in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The North Stars survived a Portage power play with Quintin Loon-Stewardson serving a high sticking penalty. The North Stars killed that off and that set up Gil's winning goal in the final minute.
Both teams are back in action again Saturday night in Portage la Prairie for game two. The series moves to North Battleford next Tuesday.