Dogs score early and often en route to fifth straight victory
Terriers triumph on teddy toss night
It didn't take long for the ice at Stride Place to be littered with stuffed animals.
Chase Brakel scored the goal that triggered the teddy-tossing just 44 seconds into the game, his first of three on the night, to lead the Portage Terriers to a 6-1 victory against the visiting Steinbach Pistons on the annual evening that sees fans throw stuffed animals on the ice as part of a fundraising initiative that supports the Salvation Army.
“It seems like we score early in every teddy bear toss so we should have them more often,” joked Blake Spiller, head coach/GM of the Terriers, alluding to the quick-strike offence that seems to accompany the yearly endeavour. “But obviously any time you can have an event that's for charity it's huge for everyone.”
The 2017 edition needed just 44 seconds before a Terrier found the back of the net, Jeremey Leipsic picked up the pick in front of the Piston goal and drew the netminder towards him before slipping a nifty feed to Brakel for a tap in goal.
Mackenzie Dwyer increased the hosts' lead to two minutes later with a power play marker, one timing home a Jared Roy feed for his sixth of the year.
The power play struck again in the opening stages of the second, Brakel notched his second of the night and just 13 seconds later – now at even strength – rookie defender Logan Mihalcin scored his first as a Terrier to put the Dogs up four.
“We're starting to move the puck and our feet and we have enough skill that if we do that, then we can have success,” added Spiller. “For a stretch there we didn't do that. We didn't compete and we didn't have our feet going and that's the difference right there.”
Brakel completed his hat trick before the mid way mark of the second and Cole Oliver pushed the Terrier lead to six mid way through the third.
Lasse Peterson picked up the win in net - and would have posted his second straight shutout against the Pistons, he back stopped the Terriers to a 3-0 win earlier in the week in Steinbach, if it weren't for a blunder in the final minute of the third that gave the Pistons a freebee.
Matthew Radomsky picked up the loss in net, allowing four goals before being chased from the game. Matthew Thiessen stopped 16 of 18 Terrier shots in relief.
The Terriers made the most of their man advantage opportunities, finishing 2/3 on the night while the Pistons were stymied on each of their six opportunities.
“Our d-men are getting the puck up to our forwards and we're making some plays and we've got out feet going. That's the key,” Spiller adds. “Obviously people would say we're a little bit more skilled then physical so you got to use your strengths and we have lately.”
With the victory, the Terriers have stretched their win streak to five straight while collecting points in the last seven. It was a near flawless week of hockey for the Terriers, the team picked up back-to-back 3-0 shut out victories on the road in Steinbach and Dauphin before squandering a shut out bid in the final seconds Sunday night.
The Dogs will look to push their win streak to a season-high six straight when they visit the Flyers Tuesday in Winkler.