The Portage Terriers squeaked out their third straight victory to kick off the 2022-23 campaign. The Dogs ended up with a 6-5 win over the Waywayseecappo Wolverines tonight in a shootout.
The Wolverines opened the scoring four minutes into the contest as Guerin Apperley made a high saucer pass from his own zone to Colby Wotton, who was behind the defence in the neutral zone. This created a breakaway opportunity, and Wotton went to his backhand and put it home on the short side to take the lead.
Portage would respond near the midway point in the frame as new addition Roman Cherniak's shot in tight hit a body but bounced right to Austin Peters on the doorstep, who tapped it into the wide-open cage.
Late in the first, the Terriers were on the power-play. Hayden Lacquette entered the zone with the puck along the wall, on the rush. He dished it off to Matt Wisener as he cut down the middle, and Wisener made a quick move going to his backhand before going back to his forehand and stretching out his stick to slide the puck around the goaltender and across the goal line. 2-1 Terriers.
The Dogs didn't keep the lead for long as Oakville product and former Portage Terrier Cody Blight responded within 30 seconds to make it a 2-2 contest going into the second period.
Less than a minute into the following frame, Lacquette intercepted a breakout pass in the offensive zone. He found Wisener again, but this time, the Winnipegger made a quick back door pass to Alyandro De Leon for the easy goal.
The lead once again didn't last very long, as Jackson Roth had a point-blank chance during 4-on-4 play that was stopped by Bailey Monteith, however, the puck ended up behind the Terrier netminder. Carson Baptiste found the puck and jammed it in to tie the game back up.
A few minutes later, as Waywayseecappo had the man advantage, a plethora of bodies were trying to snatch the puck in the Terriers' zone along the side of the boards. A Wolverine lost his stick trying to corral it, and Austin McLean did as well. During the chaos, Andrew Boucher found himself wide open in the slot, and when the puck made its way to him, he made no mistake.
Monteith's day was done after the fourth goal, and Jayden Catellier finished out the rest of the game between the pipes for Portage.
Near the midway mark of the second, Ranon Joseph had the puck in the offensive zone and made a saucer pass over a stick to Ryan Botterill, who was near the faceoff dot. He took the pass in stride and tucked the puck between the pads of Wolverine's goalie Michael Bashaw and made it a 4-4 contest.
Catellier made a point-blank glove save late in the frame after a defensive zone turnover to keep the game tied heading into the third.
Early in the period, Daniel Siso tried to jam the puck in at the side of the net but was stopped, however, it went to the other side of the net, and Austin McLean did exactly that, jam the puck in. 5-4 Terriers.
During a four-minute power-play for the Wolverines, a shot was fired from a sharp angle. While the initial shot was stopped by Catellier, Central Plains Capitals alumnus Cody Blight was the screener and was able to put the rebound home for his second goal of the night.
The Terriers drew a penalty with 45 seconds left in regulation but couldn't capitalize, sending this game to overtime.
Portage started the extra frame with a 4-on-3 advantage, and Hayden Lacquette had a nice opportunity early but was stopped but Bashaw. Ultimately, the additional five minutes solved nothing, so to a shootout it went.
The Wolverine's first shooter lost the handle, and Lacquette was the first to go for the Terriers. He came in with speed and ripped a shot high and over the glove to put the Terriers in control. After both teams' second attempts were saved it came down to shooter number three for Waywayseecappo.
"As soon as I saw him go five-hole, as quick as I could, I went down in my butterfly," says Catellier. "I felt it underneath my pad, so I knew where it was but it was just a matter of what the ref was going to call it at the end of the day. It was a little nerve-wracking but I had it, so we're all good."
With that save, the Terriers stay undefeated and picked up the 6-5 victory. Catellier describes how he deals with the pressure that comes in a shootout.
"What's going through my head is just 'Stop the puck.' You try to slow things down and almost play it in slow motion," Catellier explains. "I try to stay calm, cover as much net as possible, and eliminate their shooting chances."
The Dogs will have a quick turnaround as they head to Waywayseecappo for a rematch tomorrow night.
"I've gotten into two games this year, and both have gone past regulation. So, I'd like to get a win in regulation tomorrow," Catellier continues. "If we stay out of the penalty box after the whistle, move the puck fast, stick to our game plan, and not let them get in our heads, I think we'll be successful throughout this whole season."
The Terriers will look to make it four straight wins to open the season on the road tomorrow night with puck drop set for 6:00.