Story courtesy River Foster (Portageonline.com)
The Portage Terriers continue to roll in 2023. The Dogs defeated the Virden Oil Capitals 5-2 on home ice tonight to improve their win streak to four games.
The Terriers struck first, just past the midway point of the first period. Noah Wagner took a sharp-angle shot that was stopped but the rebound went right to the slot for Kaden Kohle, who was absolutely robbed by a regrouping Eric Reid. The Oil Capitals tried to clear and give Reid a moment to recover as he had lost his stick but Parker Scherr kept the puck in the zone and fired the puck into the back of the net. 1-0 Portage.
Virden had their first full power-play opportunity later in the frame, and they made the most of it. The puck came out of a jam along the boards in the Terriers’ zone. Colton Miller found Nolan Chastko at the point, and he skated down to the top of the circle before tying the game up 1-1.
About a minute later, Brenden Holba raced back to break up a 2-on-1 opportunity. The puck went to the side of the net, and a few Oil Capitals were trying to jam it through the pads of Catellier but he held his ground. During the scramble in front, Matt McLeod had his helmet knocked off, and it seemed as though the Terriers thought the play was over, however, that was not the case as Andrew Blocker took a shot that slid across the red line while the Terriers were talking to the referees.
Portage’s own Ryan Botterill tied the game up before the end of the period as he scooped the puck up out of a jam and ripped a shot through traffic that beat Reid five-hole. This made it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
With over five minutes gone in the second, Matt Wisener brought the puck into the offensive zone along the wing. He made a pass over to newly acquired Mike Stubbs, who was able to find the back of the net in his first game with the team.
“It felt great,” says Stubbs. “It’s always a different feeling coming into a new team at deadline time, especially with a team that’s competing for a national championship. So, it’s great to get the monkey off the back and not have to worry about it throughout the month.”
Portage held onto the 3-2 lead into the final frame.
Early in period number three, Catellier made a huge blocker save on Ethan Guthrie, who received the puck with space as he trailed the play. Catellier reacted quickly and slid across the crease to get his blocker up at the perfect time. The goaltender finished the game with 35 saves.
Late in the period, Noah Wagner had the puck against the boards behind Virden’s net. He made a slick behind-the-back pass to Kohle in front, who made no mistake about it.
Daniel Siso returned to the ice tonight after missing two months with an injury, and he was the one to seal the deal with an empty netter, bringing the final score to 5-2 Terriers.
“It’s been a while, so it was definitely good to get (the goal) out of the way,” Siso explains. “My teammates put it on a platter for me. So, I have to say thanks to them for motivating me today.”
Siso describes what he thinks were the keys to the victory.
“We started sloppier than we probably should’ve but we talked as a team and said what we needed to do to fix it during the game.”
The Terriers will have a quick turnaround as they will be back at Stride Place on Friday to welcome the Neepawa Titans to town.