The Portage Terriers are looking to make it two preseason wins in a row. The Dogs are back at Stride Place tonight as they gear up for a rematch Neepawa Titans.
The Terriers and Titans faced off on Wednesday in Neepawa, and Portage came out on top with a 6-4 victory. Ryan Botterill and Noah Wagner led the charge offensively in that contest as they both picked up three points.
Portage had their two expected goaltenders for the season in action as well, with Jayden Catellier taking the first half of the contest and Bailey Monteith making his Terrier debut in the second half.
"It was something I was looking forward to when I watched the game against Virden in the stands. It was nice to give the young guys a chance, but of course, I've been chopping at the bits since I got the call from Blake (Spiller) saying I was traded to Portage," Monteith explains. "It was great to get out there with the guys. I definitely have some stuff to iron out but it was awesome to get out there in the jersey and battle with the guys. I'm looking forward to doing that for 50+ games this year and then the Centennial Cup, of course."
Monteith describes what they'll want to do differently from Wednesday's meeting with the Titans.
"I think keeping the pressure on. There were times in that game when the momentum was teeter-tottering, especially in the first period. At times it felt like the goals were going back and forth. As a goalie, you don't want to be letting in six goals, but if we have to win 6-4 or 8-6, at the end of the day, the win is what matters. So, just keeping that pressure on and not letting up. I think we're going to be a team that can score well, defend well, and between Jayden (Catellier) and myself, I think we'll be pretty good in net."
While the goaltender has only spent about a week in Portage, he already feels like the team has a ton of chemistry.
"It's a really close group. I think that attributes to most of the team coming back from last year. There's a couple of new guys but I think in large part it's a pretty similar group to last year," Monteith continues. "For me, as a new guy, it really helps because it's not like everyone is trying to mesh together I get to mesh into that group. I feel like that's made it easier."
The Kamloops native says they are obviously looking to pick up another victory tonight but adds the preseason is mainly about figuring out what works and shaking off the rust. He outlines what he wants to tune up ahead of the regular season.
"For myself, I have to stay on my feet a bit longer. When ironing out the kinks, it's not always something you can be specific with. It just comes with being on the ice more and more coming out of the offseason. I know my first couple of days at camp, I maybe wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be but come the last day of camp and the first couple of days at practice, I've felt a lot better."
The third of four preseason games for the Terriers goes down tonight on home ice as they welcome the Neepawa Titans at 7:30.