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Terriers Can’t Close Out Pistons

Story courtesy portageonline.com

The Portage Terriers fell in a hard-fought contest this afternoon. The Dogs were taken down 6-5 in overtime by the Steinbach Pistons today, giving them a 2-0 lead in the season series.

Portage was able to strike first as Ashton Fishley fired a shot from the point that didn’t get far off the ice but found the back of the net.

A few minutes later, Thomas Kaufield passed the puck across to Brandon Funk on the rush and he made no mistake about it, ripping the one-timer past Pistons’ goalie Simon Harkness. 2-0 Portage.

With less than two minutes to go in the period, Nate Goodbrandson took a shot on net that was tipped by Quinton Pepper for his ninth goal of the season. This trimmed the lead in half and kept it a one-goal contest at the break.

Austin McLean was the first to get on the board in the second period, just over a minute into it. He outskated the defence along the boards and chipped the puck over Harkness’ pad and into the net, however, Steinbach would respond quickly. 3-2 Terriers.

Near the midway mark of the contest, Brady Grasdal took a shot that was stopped but the puck bounced high and landed in tight for Logan Calder to jam across the red line.

Late in the frame, the Terriers attempted to clear the puck out of their defensive zone, however, it hit a body and went right to Travis Hensrud who made no mistake and cut the lead in half.

With just 20 seconds left to play in the second, Matt Wisener poked the puck loose in the offensive zone and it went right to the slot. Calder was there to pick it up and the team captain built the lead up to 5-3 after 40 minutes of play on his second goal of the day.

Despite 40 minutes of stellar play, the Terriers let go of the gas pedal in the third. Pepper scored his second of the game early in the frame but untimely penalties were the ultimate killer for the Dogs in this one.

After killing off one penalty in the final 10 minutes already, the Pistons made the Terriers pay on their second power-play chance in the period. With just over three minutes left in regulation, it was a tie game for the first time since it was 0-0.

While the Terriers had chances in the overtime period, it was Langley Kruggel’s shot that sealed the deal, beating Chris Fines on his glove side. This was the Pistons’ only lead throughout the entire game but it was what mattered most as they walked out with the 6-5 victory.

Terrier defenceman Daron Cyr says they played well for the most part in this outing.

“This is one of the best teams in the league and we were competing with them all the way until the end of the game,” Cyr explains. “We can definitely beat this team. We’re a very young group and we’re going to learn how to close out games but I think we can be one of the top teams if we can play with these guys.”

Cyr says they will still have to do a few things differently next weekend.

“We have got to stay out of the box at crucial times,” says Cyr. “We have to get more shots on net. This goalie was very shaky today, so if we get more shots on net we can capitalize more.”

The Terriers and Pistons will finish off this four-game regular-season series next weekend as they play in Steinbach on Friday and return to Stride Place on Saturday night.