A day after scoring seven goals in a dramatic comeback win, the Portage Terriers' offence stayed white hot.
Maybe even purple hot.
Layne Toder scored twice and Brock Aiken was stellar in net, as the Terriers cruised past the Selkirk Steelers 6-1 while donning purple jerseys for Cancer Care Night Saturday at the PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie. Portage swept a home-and-home set against Selkirk and extended its winning streak to four-games.
“I thought we were a lot better tonight,” says Terriers assistant coach Paul Harland. “We were able to capitalize on some of our chances, and I think going forward it will give us a little bit of confidence.”
Jordan Thomson, Ty Enns, Calvin Bliid and Adam Wowryk also scored for the Terriers, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Nathan Halvorsen scored the lone goal for Selkirk, spoiling Aiken's shutout bid with 2:53 left in regulation.
The game was delayed for almost 30 minutes shortly after puck drop, as Steelers forward Conner Barley hit the boards awkwardly and stayed down until leaving with paramedics on a stretcher. He appeared to alright, as he was able to stand up with help from the trainer to sit on the stretcher before being carted off.
After play resumed, Toder gave the Terriers a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal. Wowryk forced a turnover just inside Selkirk's blue line and found Toder streaking in the high slot, who beat Hayden Dola with a shot on the glove-hand side.
With 4:40 to go in the first, Thomson fired a shot through traffic from the point on the power play to put the hosts up 2-0.
The Terriers kept coming in the second. Just over six minutes in, Toder narrowly held a puck in at the Selkirk blue line and quickly fired a shot towards the Selkirk net, which strangely sat wide open. Dola appeared to lose his footing while battling traffic above the crease, allowing Toder's shot to go in uncontested to make it 3-0.
Just over five minutes later, Enns scored his first goal since joining the Terriers in a trade with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines earlier this week, ending Dola's night with a shot through the five hole from the high slot. Brett Friesen came on to relieve Dola.
Midway through the third period, Bliid tallied a power play marker to make it 5-0, banking a shot off Friesen's pad and in after a fortunate bounce left the rookie forward with the puck on his stick unchecked on the goal mouth.
Selkirk had its best chance of the night while on the power play with just under five minutes to go in regulation. Halvorsen was left all alone in the slot and, after taking a pass from down low, he fired a quick shot towards a wide open net. Aiken dove across and made a highlight reel save, smacking the puck out of mid-air with his stick.
Ironically, Halvorsen would spoil Aiken's shutout shortly after, cutting to the slot off the wing and then firing a shot over the glove. Wowryk would add a power play marker in the final minute of regulation.
Aiken made 32 saves in the win, while Dola stopped 16 taking the loss. Friesen made 11 saves in relief. Shots were 33-33. Portage finished 3 for 7 on the power play, while Selkirk went 0 for 7.
SPECIAL TEAMS STRONG
The Terriers continued to take advantage of strong special teams. The penalty kill handled all seven of Selkirk's man advantages and produced a short-handed goal, and the power play connected three times. Through seven games Portage's power play is operating at a 33.33 per cent efficiency, No. 1 in the MJHL, and the penalty kill ranks third at 91.49 per cent while scoring a league-leading three short-handed goals.
“I think our penalty has been pretty good most of the year so far,” Harland says. “And our power play seems to be getting better and better as we move along.”
HOME SWEET HOME
The Terriers have yet to lose a game at the PCU Centre in 2016. The win against Selkirk was the 24th straight for the Terriers on home ice dating back to last season. The last time the Terriers suffered a home loss came on Nov. 18, 2015, when they fell 5-3 to the Winkler Flyers.
Portage (6-1-0) is off until Wednesday, when it welcomes the OCN Blizzard (4-0-1) to town. The Terriers edged the Blizzard 5-4 in overtime Oct. 2 in the first meeting between the two clubs this season.