The Portage Terriers wrapped up the home portion of the preseason in style. The Dogs came from behind to pick up a 4-3 victory over the Neepawa Titans tonight.
The Terriers' guns were blazing from the opening puck drop. It took the squad just 35 seconds to get the fans cheering.
Gabriel Laflamme entered the offensive zone with a burst of speed. He cut through the slot and fired a shot that was stopped, but the rebound was for the taking on the doorstep. After a few whacks at it, Nathan Lenowski was able to give Portage the early lead.
Neepawa would respond five minutes later as Alex Cordeo's point shot made it through traffic to beat goaltender Jayden Catellier.
Laflamme and Lenowski made sure the Terriers took back the lead before the first intermission. Laflamme picked the puck up off the wall in the offensive zone and made his way to the slot before cutting toward the net. He dished the puck to Lenowski for the tap-in, giving the Terriers a 2-1 lead after one.
Neepawa battled back in the second. Owen Gruener tied the game up five minutes into the frame, and Cooper Kasprick helped the Titans snatch their first lead of the game with a minute left in the period. It remained 3-2 into the intermission.
The Dogs tied things up early in the third. Lenowski received the puck in the offensive zone and stick-handled his way through a few defenders to find open space. Once he found the room to maneuver, Lenowski fed Cam Bullinger for a one-timer, and he made no mistake.
With seven minutes to go in the game, the Terriers found themselves on the power play. Owen Witt fired a shot from the top of the circle and beat Titans' Mason Lobreau, picking up the game-winning goal. Lenowski and Laflamme notched assists on the marker, giving both of them a point on every goal scored by the Terriers.
The Terriers defence and new goaltender Gavin Renwick stood tall down the stretch to keep the final score at 4-3 Portage.
Nathan Lenowski was acquired from the Winnipeg Freeze during the offseason. He reflects on his first game in a Terrier uniform.
"It felt awesome. We have a great group of guys this year," Lenowski explains. "I think everybody is just happy to be at the rink. We were out there having a good time, and we were lucky enough to get the W."
The Winnipegger describes the keys to his early success.
"Before the game, we just said, 'We have to talk a lot out there.' That was one of the key things for us. I just felt like we were working well together right off the bat with communicating. I knew where the guys were at all times."
The Terriers will now hit the road for their final two exhibition games, with the regular season getting underway on September 23.
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