Newly acquired goaltender Bailey Monteith is extremely excited to make his debut in a Terrier jersey. The Kamloops native started last season in the BCHL before being traded to the Virden Oil Capitals midseason.
Funny enough, Monteith is attempting to go from villain to hero as he was in net in the final game of the season last year, which eliminated the Dogs from the playoffs.
"Anytime you get traded to the Centennial Cup host, it's an amazing feeling knowing how much trust the team would have in me. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to win a Centennial Cup," Monteith explains. "Looking in the short term, to be a Portage Terrier is something I've had in the back of my mind since we played in the last game of the season last year. Walking into the rink and seeing the great fan support, it just seemed like a good community to play in."
The goalie says he was happy to end the Terriers 40 year long playoff streak but now is glad he has the opportunity to help the organization start a new one.
"The first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news was getting the Terriers back into the playoffs and starting another streak. It's an interesting feeling. I have this one picture of a save I made in that game. That was one of the first things that came to my mind. I thought it was kind of funny that it worked out that way but I'm really looking forward to it."
Monteith notes shortly after the trade was announced, he received text messages from both the head coach and general manager Blake Spiller, and local defenceman Kian Calder. The new addition says Calder plans to help him get familiar with the Portage area, which he adds he is very grateful for.
When the goalie became a full-time starter last season in Virden, he had a 3.27 goals against average with a 0.903 save percentage in 18 games. During that span, he had a record of 12-5-1, and Monteith says that experience taught him a lot.
"Coming out to Manitoba for that half a season was one of the first times I've been a full-time starter in the past couple of years. Now, with that half season under my belt, I have a lot more maturity and calmness in net. In a league like the MJHL, tempers can run hot sometimes. I think the half-season to get used to how you have to show up every day, day in and day out, will really help me."
Monteith helped the Oil Capitals make a semi-finals appearance in the last year's postseason, and he adds that opened his eyes to what it takes to succeed.
"You have to take care of your mind. It can be a long season, especially come playoff time when you're playing every day. So, just handling the ups and downs is important. I feel like, at times, in the Steinbach series, I could've done a better job of that but with the experience under my belt, I'll be better prepared to handle any adversity we might face at any time."
The goaltender describes his playstyle to those who have yet to see him in action.
"I'd say I'm reliable, and I feel like I'm a strong puck handler. I feel like fans will come to expect a certain level of play from me, which will consist of reliability and consistency, while also having a flair for the dramatics. I live for the big save. I know I made one when I played in Portage last year, and I hope I can make a lot more this year. Those are fun for me, and it's also fun for the fans to be able to see those big saves."
The 20-year-old couldn't be more excited to get the season underway on September 16. Monteith and the rest of the Terrier hopefuls are currently on the ice for training camp this weekend.