Terriers joined by special company

Laura Shantora Nelles, The Daily Graphic

While prepping for Saturday night's big matchup against league-leading Dauphin, the Portage Terriers were treated to a skate with Olympic gold medalist Sami Jo Small on Friday afternoon at Centennial Arena.

Portage Minor Hockey Association Novice teams were hosting a tournament and some lucky players had the chance to skate with their hometown heros as well as Small after the conclusion of their game. The Terriers joined in the fun before running a regular practice.

Coaches Blake Spiller and Paul Harland were working the team in regular fashion, except that a five-time world champion was between the pipes.

Small said she was pleased with the Dogs' work ethic, which she said will "help as the season progresses." She also noticed the Terriers' "great leadership" and said the team is a "very mature" group.

Terrier netminder Alex Christiansen was happy to have the chance to skate with an Olympian. "It shows what kind of dedication it takes," he said.

He said he wasn't nervous being on the ice with such a high-calibre goalie. "I was more interested than nervous, just to see how good she is, and I was surprised she could hold her own," he said, pointing out Small was able to beat some Terriers in a rebound drill.

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