The Portage Terriers have a big test ahead of them. The first-place Steinbach Pistons are in town for Manitoba Junior Hockey League action tonight at the PCU Centre.
The Terriers won their first game of 2017 earlier this week over the Virden Oil Capitals, after falling to them on the weekend on home ice. The Pistons went undefeated through the month of December and are playing their first game of the New Year tonight. Terriers defenceman Layne Toder says they need to play hard from puck drop to the final buzzer if they want to win.
"We have to play a full 60 minutes from whistle-to-whistle," says Toder. "We need to just play our game and keep things simple tonight."
Steinbach's won both prior meetings with the Dogs this season by a goal. Both teams have played once at home. Head coach Blake Spiller likes their competition with the Pistons and expects another tight game tonight.
"In the past, Steinbach was more built to play in their own rink and dominate. This season they seem to be able to bring that play to away games as well," says Spiller. "We're going to have to work hard and be structured, and not give up too much. We've had entertaining games both times with them and hopefully, we'll get the jump on them tonight."
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
Terriers' forward Jeremey Leipsic was named the RBC Player of the Month for December.
The 19-year-old continues to be one of the driving forces behind the Terriers' offence, and was selected after recording 19 points (5G-14A) in nine games. Leipsic, who hails from Winnipeg, had seven multi-point games. He was named a game star on two occasions. He also leads all MJHL scorers with 64 points in 35 games.
The runner-ups were 19-year-old forward Dexter Kuczek of the Winnipeg Blues and 19-year-old forward Kirklan Lycar of the Virden Oil Capitals.