Defenseman Cody Thompson controlling the blue line. (Photo by Marvin Buhler)
The Portage Terriers clinched fifth place last night as they fell 5-2 to the Steinbach Pistons. The game was closer than the score indicated with the final two Piston goals coming in the last three minutes, and one into an empty net.
The Pistons opened the scoring in front of their hometown crowd early in the first period; Danny Pion slid one under Kurtis Chapman from a sharp angle. Ty Barnstable responded for Portage 1:03 later with his 11th of the season. Spencer Kuhlman had his point shot stopped but Barnstable was able to knock home the rebound. It was a physical first period with Portage taking six minor penalties and Josh Martin a 10-minute misconduct. The Pistons would score late in the frame on the power play to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Bradley Schoonbaert tucked it home at the side of the net.
The Pistons increased their pressure in the second period but it was Portage who scored first. Layne Toder notched his 11th of the season with the man advantage. He had a “seeing eye” shot find its way just inside the post. Steinbach would get their crowd back in the game when they retook the lead minutes later off a Jordan Bochinski one-timer.
Sokoloski gets ready for the faceoff
The teams would exchange chances through the second and late into the third. Nick Doyle took a penalty with four minutes left in the third on which the Pistons would capitalise; Schoonbaert finished off a one-timer in the slot. Pion would score his second of the night on the empty net to put the game out of reach.
With the loss, the Terriers are no longer able to climb ahead of OCN in the standings and will finish 5th. They will play either OCN or Selkirk in the first round, depending on the outcome of the OCN vs Steinbach game tonight. The Terriers will play their final game of the season on Sunday in Waywayseecappo at 3:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on CFRY and Portageonline.com with the pregame show starting at 3:20 pm.