The Portage Terriers were handed their third straight defeat Wednesday night in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Niverville Nighthawks.
Brett Tataryn opened the scoring in shorthanded fashion to put Niverville up 1-0.
That lead would carry over into the second for the Nighthawks until Bryden Kiesman tied the game at 1-1. Just moments later, Terrier fan favourite Ryan Botterill scored his 45th goal of the campaign to give his team a 2-1 lead. However, Ty Kennett would even the game up for the Nighthawks at 2-2 late in the 2nd period.
The 3rd period and overtime would solve nothing. Both teams played a chippy and defensive style, ultimately leading to a shootout where the Niverville NIghthawks would take the Terriers down 3-2.
Although losing the game, the Terriers did clinch first place in the MJHL, with the game going to extra time. Securing a first-round series matchup against guess who? The Niverville Nighthawks.
Terrier Captain Kian Calder told PortageOnline that while the loss was disappointing, picking up a point and cementing themselves as the best team in the MJHL this season was huge.
"That's what our goal was at the start of the year, to finish first place. Obviously, we have more goals further down the road now with the playoffs next week. So yeah, the boys are pretty pumped up," Calder continues. "It's not ideal that we lost the game, but I think that's a weight off our shoulders, and we'll be able to play more freely.
The Captain says that the loss comes down to the Terriers needing to move their feet more, noting that his team is looking forward to having a shot at redemption against the Nighthawks in the playoffs.
The Terriers' last regular season game of the year will come against the Pistons in Steinbach this Friday, March 17th, for a St Paddy's night tilt.