Terriers cruise past Flyers
Portage Terriers celebrate following James McIsaac's third period marker Friday night at home against Winkler. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
The playoff picturing is becoming clearer on a night where the Portage Terriers collected their 30th victory of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League regular season.
Duncan Pierce restored the Terrier lead at the 7:06 mark of the third period with his sixth of the year before James McIsaac put the finishing touches on the home team's victory with a power play marker, his 21st of the year, with just under five to play as the Terriers doubled up the visiting Winkler Flyers 4-2 tonight at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.
"Our forecheck was good tonight, we could have had a couple more (goals), and maybe could have gave up less too," says Paul Harland, Portage Terriers assistant coach. "Our goalie wasn't overly worked tonight but it's a good thing we were able to find the back of the net four times here."
Ty Barnstable and Ryan Sokoloski struck 78 seconds apart late in the second stanza to erase a one-goal Winkler lead. Brett Opperman briefly tied the game with a tally early in the third before the Terriers struck for two more.
Lasse Petersen wasn't tested often, as Winkler directed just three shots his way in each of the opening two periods, but proved equal to the task with 14 saves in the winning effort. Winkler's Troy Martyniuk made 29 saves in the loss.
"We didn't have the puck in our end a whole lot tonight and we seemed to be playing in their end which is what we want to do," Harland adds. "Obviously every win is important, especially when you're playing teams within striking distance of you, it will help down the road for playoff positioning."
The Terriers (30-12-1-2) lead a pack of teams chasing down the first place Steinbach Pistons (36-8-1-1). Comfortably in second, the Terriers sit five points clear of third place Virden (28-15-2) while only ten points separate third from seventh in league standings.
The eight place Natives (20-21-2-1) and ninth place Stamps (18-19-5) are battling it out for the final playoff position.
The Dogs are back in action Tuesday on the road in Selkirk before returning home the following night for a date with the mighty Pistons.