The Portage Terriers picked up their 6th win in a row on Sunday night, beating the Winnipeg Freeze 4-2. It was a tale of two teams having completely different seasons. Portage improved to 26-6-1-1, two points out of first, while the Freeze lost their 26th in a row and are last in the MJHL with a record of 2-31-2.
Portage showed why they are a top team in the league in the first period. They outshot Winnipeg 17-7 and scored three straight goals. Matt McLeod sent a nice pass across the ice to Ryan Botterill on the power play and he made no mistake snapping a shot upstairs over Keegan Gordon. Kaden Kohle cleaned up a rebound midway through the period, and then off of a neutral zone faceoff Slade Stanick poked the puck past the defenceman and fired a shot over Gordon’s glove. Portage would take a 3-0 lead into the dressing room.
The second period started like the first with Portage getting plenty of chances. The Freeze started to show some life in the last five minutes. Portage took a couple of penalties in quick succession and Elliot Perreault scored on the 5 on 3. With the second period about to expire, Tristan Bear tipped a point shot past Jayden Catellier to bring the Freeze within one.
The Terriers settled down in the third period and outshot Winnipeg 16-8. As the clock wound down and Winnipeg increased the pressure, Freeze defenceman Naaman Hofer took a holding penalty that essentially ended the game. Ryan Botterill scored his second of the night and team-leading 18th of the season into the empty net to put it out of reach. 4-2 Terriers.
Catellier faced 27 shots and was solid when needed down the stretch. The empty net goal helped boost the Terriers’ power play percentage as they finished the night 2/5. Portage is now two points back of Steinbach for first place. Sunday was the first of four straight road games for the Terriers. They visit Winkler on Wednesday, Swan Valley Friday, and OCN on Saturday.
The next Terrier home game will be a makeup game against the Steinbach Pistons on January 25, at Stride Place.