Terriers edge Oil Caps in all rookie affair
Kolton Shindle, middle, celebrates with teammates following his second period goal tonight at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
Hockey season is officially back.
The Portage Terriers' all-rookie team scored late in the third and again in overtime to overcome a three goal deficit and complete the comeback to down the visiting Virden freshmen 5-4 this evening in Manitoba Junior Hockey League preseason action at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.
Jacob Brown scored a pair of goals, including the game winner, each set up by Portage la Prairie's Joey Moffatt as a plethora of local talent was on display to kick off the year.
"It's just trying to figure out who can play and how they handle pressure," says assistant coach Paul Harland. "I thought at times we were giving the puck away when we didn't need to and that resulted in some turnovers and goals against."
The Terriers opened the scoring early in the first thanks to Bryce Krauter - who jumped on a loose puck behind the Oil Cap defence before flipping a backhand past netminder Riley Buhay. Soon after Virden's Andrew Tanner evened the score with an unassisted marker almost identical to Krauter's tally.
Jack Einarson scored a pair of goals early in the second and Owen Lee buried another unassisted tally to increase the Oil Caps' lead to three before the Portage offence heated up.
Brown scored his first of two on the night and minutes after Kolton Shindle knocked in his own rebound in a mad scramble in front of the Virden goal to pull the Terriers within one late in the second.
Tyson Allison jumped on a loose puck with time running out in the third and slid it around Dawson Green - who entered in relief of Buhay - to force an extra frame.
Moffatt and Brown put the finishing touches on a back-and-forth, three-on-three overtime when an Oil Cap defender fell along the boards to send the pair of Terrier forwards in alone, where they made no mistake, as Moffatt slid the puck to Brown who tapped it past the sprawling netminder.
"They worked hard and they kept pressing and got some nice goals here in the third to come back and eventually get a win," Harland said of his crop of rookies. "The next step will be a few of them playing in the preseason with a mix of MJHL players so we'll be able to get a little bit more of a read on those guys moving forward."
Riley Sveistrup and Brendan Benoit split the load and picked up the victory while the Buhay and Green tandem picked up the loss.
Terrier management will be trimming the roster Tuesday night before moving forward with practices this week.
"A few of those locals will probably get more opportunity to get mixed in with some of our guys and play against some guys that have played in the league for a year or two," added Harland. "Tonight I thought a couple of them showed pretty good."
The Terriers are back in action Sept. 12 for preseason action in Virden. Puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.