The Portage Terriers fell 7-3 Friday night to the Virden Oil Capitals in their home opener.
After the lights and smoke cleared from the player introductions, it was the Oil Capitals that came out firing. They scored three goals in the first 11 minutes, from Owen Blocker, Hunter Cloutier and Brett Paddock. Portage received a four minute power play but were unable to beat Kyle Kozma.
Despite the shots being close throughout the game, Virden continued to find the back of the net in the second period. Portage got into some penalty trouble and both Trevor Hunt and Josh Belcher were able to score for the Oil Capitals on the power play.
“We need to be more committed on the defensive side of the puck. says Terrier defenceman Tyler Van Deyzne. He was moved to the blueline from forward and says it was his first game playing defence in almost two years. ” It was good. We just want to win, so whatever gives us the best chance to win, I’ll do it.”
Virden paraded to the penalty box in the third period, taking four minor penalties and two 10-minute misconducts. Even with a man in the box the Oil Capitals were able to score short handed. After falling 6-0, Portage finally started to show some signs of life. Peyton Gorski snapped a quick shot over the blocker of Kozma to break the shutout. Virden’s Jack Einarson quickly responded on a shorthanded breakaway bringing their lead back to six. Portage would get two goals late in the game from Rhys Raeside and Jacob Piller but it would be too little too late.
“We have to be better in all aspects of the game,” says Terrier defenceman Peyton Gorski. “We need to be better in all three zones, use each other, and work harder.”
Cole Johnston stopped 31 of the 38 shots he faced in net. Portage finished the night 1/9 on the power play and 4/6 on the penalty kill. The Terriers will play Virden again for the final time in the series Sunday night at 6:30 PM at Stride Place.
For the complete box score CLICK HERE.