Portage Terriers goaltender Jayden Catellier was thrown into the fire in the first-round of the MJHL playoffs and came out unscathed.
After losing Game 3 against the Niverville Nighthawks 5-4 at home, the Terriers decided to put Catellier between the pipes for Game 4.
"I found out the night before. It was a little nerve-wracking since it was my first playoff start," Catellier explains. "It was nice to get it under the belt. A road win is always nice. That made it a lot easier coming back home for Game 5."
The 20-year-old stopped 29 of 30 shots in Game 4 to help guide the Dogs to a 3-1 victory. Even though he ended up having an excellent game, things didn't start out how he had hoped.
"Honestly, I didn't want to let one in early," says Catellier. "However, in Game 4, I did let one in early but I bounced back and then just played solid in Game 4 and Game 5."
Less than five minutes into his playoff debut, Catellier had a puck get past him but he went another 97 minutes through Game 4 and 5 before being scored on again. He says this was a huge confidence boost.
"You get that one past you, and you move on from it. It is what it is," Catellier continues. "You just have to move on and try to give the team the best chance that you can. That's really what it comes down to, just giving them a chance."
The 2021-22 Terrier MVP helped Portage secure a 5-1 Game 5 victory to end the series with Niverville, start the handshake line, and move on to the second round. While he has played fewer games than most goalies, Catellier leads the MJHL in playoff goals-against-average (1.00) and save percentage (0.965).
While he is unsure whether it will be him or Bailey Monteith getting the start in Game 1 of the second-round on Friday, Catellier says he would prepare the same way regardless.
"I'm playing every practice like it's a game right now, and I'm just going out there and making sure I'm staying fresh. I'm going to battle hard that way it'll translate into the games to compete and battle. That's what it's going to come down to in the playoffs, who wants it more."
The Terriers will welcome the Virden Oil Capitals to Stride Place on Friday for Game 1 of round two.