The Portage Terriers' head coach Blake Spiller caught a milestone with the 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Freeze on Friday, January 12th. The win was the 670th of his career, tying the MJHL's all-time win's record by a coach.
A slow start cost the Terriers in the first period. A jam play at the side of the net resulted in a goal for the Freeze, scored by Peyton Allard, with an assist from Ashton Cuvelier.
Portage would get it back with 1:27 remaining in the first period after an Ashton Fishley shot was tipped over the net. Nathan Lenoski grabbed the rebound, put it on goal and Cam Bullinger would hammer home the next chance, tying the game at 1.
The Terriers took a couple penalties early in the second period, and the Freeze powerplay capitalized on the second powerplay. Elliott Perreault took a shot from just inside the blueline, hitting the stick of Gavin Renwick and bouncing into the net, making it 2-1 Winnipeg.
Decker Mujcin would tie the game again however, skating across the crease and finding a hole on Braxton Burdeny, making it 2-2, where it would stay until the end of the period.
The third period would start with some rough stuff, as Wyatt Taron hit Slade Stanick from behind, while Stanick tried to corral the puck behind the net. Taron was assessed two minor penalties, one for boarding and one for roughing. Gabriel Laflamme came to Stanick's defence and was assessed a minor for roughing as well.
The Terriers scored on the powerplay on a great shot from Tayem Gislason, as he got a d-to-d pass from Parker Scherr. Daniel Siso drew the secondary assist.
The Terriers would take a too many men penalty with just over 4 minutes to go, and Gavin Renwick would bail the team out with a cross-crease save that kept the Terriers in the lead.
Their penalty kill went 2/3 with 1 goal on 2 opportunities on the powerplay.
In the last minute, the Freeze pulled their netminder and the Terriers held on to win it in dramatic fashion.
Blake Spiller spoke about what it meant to him to tie the regular season wins record.
"It's good for our staff for sure. They put in a lot of years. Obviously, it just means we've been around a long time, whenever you get those."
Blake clarified, he doesn't think that it is as important as an opportunity to host the Turnbull Cup.
Ashton Fishley said the team needs to be better tomorrow, but was happy to get the win.
"I think we just need to control the puck a little bit more, maybe win a few more battles, we were having trouble winning battles tonight, but we ended up coming out with the lead, and finished it off with a win. It wasn't a pretty one, but we're going to have to be better tomorrow to beat Dauphin."
Decker Mujcin scored the tying goal in the second but he says he thinks the team needs to show up in a more physical way as well.
"We should've been more physical, we can't get pushed around by a young team like that, so tomorrow we're going to have to get more physical and man up, and hopefully sneak out with a win."
The Terriers head up to Dauphin tomorrow night with eyes on a three-game winning streak and earning Blake first place with his 671st career win.
Game time is 7:30.