Story by River Foster (Portageonline.com)
The Portage Terriers are disappointed in their start to Wednesday night’s game. The Dogs have now lost three consecutive games as the Steinbach Pistons left Stride Place with a 5-3 victory.
Travis Hensrud and Noah Szabo were able to find the back of the net in the first to give the Pistons a two-goal lead after 20 minutes. Terrier defenceman Matt McLeod says goalie Bailey Monteith did what he could to keep them in the game early.
“We definitely needed a much better start. We came out really flat,” McLeod explains. “We let our goalie down in the first. We didn’t really give him any easy shots against, and that came back to bite us. I thought we dominated the second and third, and I think the score showed it. If we get that first period out of our game and play like we did in the second and third, I think that’s a much different game.”
The Terriers came out of the gate in the second frame with a much different mindset. The Terriers went to the power-play just over a minute into the period and after just eight seconds with the man-advantage. Ryan Botterill ripped a shot past Steinbach goaltender Cole Plowman for his 13th power-play goal of the season (Botterill is second in the league in power-play goals).
Unfortunately for the Terriers, a defensive zone turnover created an opportunity for Leo Chambers to get the puck in the slot and beat Monteith. 3-1 Pistons.
The Dogs’ second power-play came later in the frame and went just as well as the first. Bryden Kiesman got the puck at the point and took a few strides toward the net. As he crept closer, McLeod was diving to the net, and Kiesman dished the puck off to him. McLeod tipped it top shelf and cut the lead back down to one.
Chambers and Ian Amsbaugh found the back of the net late in the second to build the lead to 5-2 for Steinbach heading into the final period.
Despite outshooting the Pistons 14-2 in the third, the last goal of the evening for the Terriers came three minutes into the third. Kian Calder got the puck on the rush and tapped it into the open net for his ninth of the season.
While Portage put on some pressure with their goalie pulled, Plowman stood tall to bring us the final score of 5-3 Steinbach.
McLeod outlines what the team has to do to snap this losing skid.
“We have to play a full 60 (minutes). We haven’t done that in the last three games, and it’s shown on the scoresheet,” says McLeod. “We also have to finish our checks. We got a lot better in the second and third but we’re a much better team when we play physically. I think we have to get those two components of our game back, and then we’ll be back to where we were.”
The Terriers won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption, as they are back at Stride Place on Friday night to take on the Selkirk Steelers.