The Portage Terriers lost their first game in over a month tonight. The Dauphin Kings capitalized when it mattered most as they toppled the Terriers 7-5 at Stride Place.
The Kings opened the scoring extremely early as former Terrier Mason Smith found the back of the net just over a minute into the game. Less than a minute later, Myles Yearwood was able to put another one past Jayden Catellier to give Dauphin an early 2-0 lead.
The Terriers were able to respond in the frame on the power-play. Mike Stubbs had the puck near the boards at the point. He saw Ryan Botterill cutting down the opposite wing and put the puck on a platter for him. Botterill made no mistake, picking up his 42nd goal of the season and made it 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Portage tied things up in the second. After scoring the first goal for Portage, Botterill had Kings' goalie Cole Sheffield thinking about his shot as he faked it before making a pass toward the doorstep. There were a few bodies in front but it was Slade Stanick who was able to jam it in.
This lead wouldn't last long as Alex Senf made a move at the side of the net and tucked it into the back of the net. This was the end of the night for Catellier but that didn't stop the onslaught from the Kings.
Late in the period, the Terriers found themselves on the power-play once again. Austin Peters had the puck at the side of the net and made a shot pass to Botterill, who ripped a one-timer in the top corner of the net. This tied the game at 3-3 after 40 minutes of play.
Early in the third, Kaden Kohle helped Portage take their first lead of the game as he found the back of the net for the 16th time this season. Portage only held the lead for three and a half minutes before Senf put home his second of the game, jamming it past Bailey Monteith after he sprawled out to make a beautiful initial save. 4-4.
Yearwood gave the lead back to Dauphin with just nine minutes left, and the Dogs had their backs against the wall. Team Captain Kian Calder did his best to shift the momentum as he fired a shot past Sheffield in the slot with six minutes to go.
Unfortunately for the Terriers, it was the Mason Smith revenge game. The former Terrier entered the zone wide with speed and placed his shot perfectly to beat Monteith in the top corner on the short side. This made it 6-5 Dauphin with an empty netter late sealing the deal.
Terrier defenceman Kian Calder says letting up two goals that quickly is hard to come back from.
"Obviously, we needed a better start to the game tonight. The two quick goals by them through us off a bit," Calder continues. "We're going to face adversity throughout the rest of the year and the playoffs. So, I think this is a good lesson for us tonight. We need to commit more in the D-zone and help our goalies out. We threw them to the wolves tonight, and that's not fair for them. Overall, we just need to be better."
The Terriers' win streak is now snapped at ten games but they have an opportunity at redemption tomorrow night in Dauphin.
"We just have to be ready to go. They're fighting for their lives over there. They're in a tight race (for the playoffs) in the other division," Calder explains. "We've clinched for about a month and a half now. So, I think we got too comfortable winning. Overall, we need a better effort tomorrow."
The Terriers have just three regular-season games left, one of which goes down in Dauphin tomorrow at 7:30.