With the 2023 Centennial Cup in the rearview mirror, the Portage Terriers are looking forward to what should be another great regular season.
The Terriers started 2022-23 with the singular focus of competing for the Centennial Cup, which Portage hosted from May 11-21. It was a roster carousel with 43 different players suiting up for at least one game. By late December, Portage seemed to hit their stride winning the last two games before Christmas and then the first five of January. A strong month of February, including 3 straight shutouts, propelled Portage into first place. Ryan Botterill led the way with 45 goals and 73 points, and Austin Peters was right behind with 62. The net was split between Bailey Monteith and Jayden Catellier with both of them posting over 20 wins.
In the playoffs Portage was tested by the newly formed Niverville Nighthawks, but were able to wrap up the series in five games. The second round of the playoffs looked to be going in the Terriers favour before the flu bug struck. With a depleted Terrier lineup, the Virden Oil Capitals forced a seventh game, which they eventually won in double overtime.
After being eliminated the Terriers were able to rest up and get ready for the Centennial Cup. The time off seemed to work for Portage, who went 3-1 in the round robin and qualified for the playoffs. The Dogs beat the Yarmouth Mariners in the quarter finals but lost to the Battlefords North Stars in the semi finals.
Final Roster from 2022-23
Ryan Botterill Matt Wisener Daniel Siso
Slade Stanick Mike Stubbs Austin Peters
Gavin Klaassen Austin McLean Brenden Holba
Bryden Kiesman Noah Wagner Brock MacDonald
Tayem Gislason Parker Scherr
Brandon McCartney Matt McLeod
Kian Calder Hayden Lacquette
*The players stroked out are not returning
The Terriers had eight 20-year-old players who are graduating from junior hockey: Kian Calder, Bryden Kiesman, Kaden Kohle, Brandon McCartney, Matt McLeod, Bailey Monteith, Mike Stubbs, Noah Wagner.
Gavin Klaassen – The Portage Terriers have traded F Gavin Klaassen to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) for Future Considerations.
Hayden Lacquette – The Portage Terriers have traded D Hayden Lacquette to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines for F Parker Korman and future considerations.
Austin Peters – Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
Ryan Botterill – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Matt Wisener – Aberdeen Wings (NAHL)
Brock MacDonald – Colorado Grit (NAHL)
The Terriers will enter the season as a much younger group with eight players graduating and five veterans leaving. The good thing though is that there is a strong core of returning players at each position. Veterans Siso, McLean and Stanick are back at forward, the shutdown pairing of Gislason and Scherr returns to the blue line, and goaltender Catellier will see an increased role in his third season.
The key to the season will be how fast new players gel in the lineup. A familiar face will be returning in Alyandro De Leon. The Terriers also made deals in the summer to acquire: G Gavin Renwick (05) and F Kalen Reynolds (04) from Neepawa, F Decker Mujcin (04) from the Grand Prairie Storm (AJHL), and F Nathan Lenoski (04) from the Winnipeg Freeze.
Players to watch
Nathan Lenoski – (5’11”, 175, F, 04) Lenoski lead the Winnipeg Freeze last season with 41 points in 47 games. “He plays hard, has good vision and scored 20 goals as a rookie last season,” says Terrier head coach and GM Blake Spiller. The Winnipeg product was drafted by Virden in the 5th round in 2019.
Cam Bullinger – (5’11”, 176, F, 04) One of a handful of Americans looking to make the Terriers, the Fargo product played 12 games last season in the NAHL with the Minot Minotauros. “He is a strong solid forward that makes plays. He will be counted on to provide offence.”
Gabriel LaFlamme – (5,7”, 141, F, 03 ) The Boucherville, QC, product was captain last season with the Saint-Hyacinthe Laureats (QCHL) and had 44 points in 34 games. “Quick and skilled, LaFlamme has produced at every level.”