The Portage Terriers fell 4-2 Saturday night to the visiting Neepawa Natives. Two late goals in the first period gave Neepawa a lead they would not relinquish.
Portage found the back of the net first with four minutes to go in the first period. Rhys Raeside has had a hot start to the season and that continued when his shot was tipped by Tyson McLean on the power play. Terrier rookie defenceman Tyler Dodgson picked up an assist on the play; his first in the MJHL. Neepawa closed out the period with two quick goals to take the lead. Brady Morrison broke up a play and fired it top shelf, and Rylan Gudnason finished off a two on one. Despite the two late goals Portage outshot Neepawa 14-11.
“I think as a team we need to come ready from the start” says Terrier forward Tyson McLean. “If we get puck movement below the circles and if we tighten up our D zone we will have success.”
Neepawa extended their lead early in the second period with the man advantage. Gudnason was able to slide it past Fines on the doorstep for his second of the night and fourth of the season. With another man in the box Portage was able to get some offence. Raeside was sprung on a breakaway and made no mistake, drawing Portage to within one. It was the Terriers’ first shorthanded marker of the season.
The Dogs looked strong in the third period getting chances on Dawson Green, but he held down the fort. Portage finished the night outshooting the Natives 33-27. Briley Wood added an empty net goal for Neepawa to close out the game. Chris Fines was saddled with his first regulation loss of the season.
“I think we need to stay more defensive minded in our own zone,” says Terrier defenceman Tyler Dodgson. “We need to come back and support our teammates”
Portage now gets ready for another home and home series with Neepawa next weekend. The first game will be on Friday Oct. 30 in Portage at Stride place starting at 7:30 pm.
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