The Portage Terriers boarded the bus back home, but left two vital points in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) playoff race behind in Neepawa.

Ashton Anderson scored twice, including the game-winner, and Tyler Gutenberg made 39 saves, as the Neepawa Natives held on to beat the Terriers 5-3 Friday night at the Yellowhead Centre.

Josh Sielsky, Justin Metcalfe and Nolan Richards also scored for Neepawa (13-31-5), which picked up its first win against Portage (32-16-3) this season, after being outscored 17-7 over the first three meetings. Riley Thiessen, Ryan Sokoloski and Jeremey Leipsic tallied for the Terriers.

“We just didn’t come out and play,” says Terriers defenceman Layne Toder. “We had a slow start and started building at the end. We just didn’t play 60 minutes.”

Neepawa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Sielsky, who spent a brief stint with the Terriers this season, scored 2:46 after puck drop to make it 1-0. Then just 1:08 later, Metcalf beat Brock Aiken to put Neepawa up 2-0.

Thiessen scored an unassisted goal late in the first period to cut the lead to 2-1.

Feb-10-Npa-vs-PLP.jpgPortage Terriers defenceman Riley Thiessen, front left, tries to block a lane during the Terriers' 5-3 loss to Neepawa Friday night.

But Neepawa would restore its two-goal lead promptly in the second period, as Richards scored 1:18 in to make it 3-1. Then just past the midway mark of the second, Sokoloski tallied a power play marker to bring the Terriers back within a goal.

Neepawa, however, would again extend its lead again, as Anderson scored to make it 4-2 less than three minutes later.

Early in the third, the Terriers, again, climbed back to within one, as Leipsic scored 3:55 in to cut Neepawa’s lead to 4-3. But that was as close as Portage would get. Anderson added an empty-netter with 19 seconds left in regulation.

Gutenberg made 39 saves in the win, while Aiken stopped 35 taking the loss. Portage outshot Neepawa 42-40 while going 1 for 4 on the power play; Neepawa finished 0 for 3.

CRUNCH TIME
With nine games to go in their MJHL regular season, the Terriers sit in fifth-place, two points back of the surging OCN Blizzard (33-15-3) for fourth. The Blizzard have won seven straight. Portage is also just four points shy of the third-place Selkirk Steelers (34-16-3) with two games in hand, and another two meetings lined up with them down the stretch.

UP NEXT
The Terriers are off until next Wednesday, when they return home for their final meeting of the regular season with the Winnipeg Blues (25-22-5). Portage has already clinched the season series between the two clubs, having won four of the first five meetings while outscoring Winnipeg 21-10.

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SCOREBOARD

Tuesday, February 21st

SEMHL Playoffs
Warren 5 Morden 2
(Mercs win series 3-1)
Notre Dame 7 Stonewall 0
(Hawks win series 3-1)
Carman 5 Altona 2
(Beavers win best of 5 quarterfinal 3-1)

Winnipeg Women's High School Hockey League Playoffs
Fort Richmond 4 PCI Saints 3
(Fort Richmond leads best of 3 series 1-0)

Zone 4 High School Hockey League
Carman 5 WC Miller 4
(1st game in best of 3 semifinal)

Zone 4 High School Varsity Basketball Playoffs
Girls semi-finals
Westpark Royals 61 Rosenort Redhawks 44
Boys semi-finals
Westpark Royals 83 Rosenort Redhawks 63

Zone 7 High School Varsity Basketball
Girls
MacGregor 49 Carberry 7

West Winnipeg Athletic Conference Junior Varsity Basketball
Gordon Bell 70 PCI Trojans 47

MJHL
OCN 5 Winkler 2
Waywayseecappo 4 Swan Valley 0

AHL
Rockford 4 Manitoba 3

NHL
Toronto 5 Winnipeg 4 (OT)
Pittsburgh 3 Carolina 1
Ottawa 2 New Jersey 1
Montreal 3 N.Y. Rangers 2 (SO)
Tampa Bay 4 Edmonton 1
N.Y. Islanders 3 Detroit 1
Calgary 6 Nashville 5 (OT)
Chicago 5 Minnesota 3
Los Angeles 2 Colorado 1

Wednesday, February 22nd

Winnipeg Women's High School Hockey League Playoffs
Fort Richmond at PCI Saints, 4 p.m. Stride Place
(Fort Richmond leads best of 3 series 1-0)

West Winnipeg Athletic Conference Tier 2 Basketball
Varsity
Tec Voc at PCI Trojans, 5 p.m.
Tec Voc at PCI Saints, 6:30 p.m.

Zone 7 Rep Game
Junior Varsity Girls
Minnedosa at MacGregor, 5 p.m.

Zone 4 High School Hockey League
Prairie Mountain at Morden, 7:30 p.m.
(1st game in best of 3 semifinal)

MMJHL
Stonewall at Pembina Valley, 8 p.m.

MJHL
OCN at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Waywayseecappo at Neepawa, 7:30 p.m.

WHL
Brandon at Calgary, 12 p.m.

AHL
Rockford at Manitoba, 7 p.m.

NHL
Edmonton at Florida, 6:30 p.m.
Washington at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Boston at Anaheim, 9:30 p.m.

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