Mattawan entered the game in first place, unbeaten in the South Division. The Mustangs entered the game in third place in the division with a 3-1 record.
The game started great for the Mustangs, putting early pressure on the Wildcats and peppering the goalie with shots. The Mustangs outshot the Wildcats 17-5 in the first period. Unfortunately, the Wildcats scored a powerplay goal for the only score of the first period.
The physical play picked up in the second period with bodies flying everywhere. Hayward, Stolsky, Sorenson and the Anderson and Seal brothers made their presence felt on the ice. Despite carrying the play and winning most of the individual battles, PC made a mistake and Mattawan scored off the turnover over to take a 2-0 lead. Mattawan was then called for its first penalty of the game - for interference.
PC was able to capitalize on the powerplay as Hunter Maschke retrieved a loose puck, worked it to Justin Hayward who slipped it to Will Anderson. Anderson walked the blue line and then fired a laser from the point through traffic and past the Wildcat goalie. The Mustangs had cut the lead to 1 and had regained momentum.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs would get called for three more penalties in the second period and Mattawan scored another powerplay goal. Portage Central was called for 5 of the first 6 penalties in the game. Despite the penalties, the Mustangs still outshot Mattawan 10-6 in the second period.
The third period was more of the same. Portage Central outshot Mattawan 11-3, but wasn't able to put one in the net. While on a powerplay, Tyler Stolsky parked himself in front of the Mattawan net and was repeatedly slashed by the goalie and crosschecked and knocked to the ice by the defenseman repeatedly but no call was made.
Mattawan was able to capitalize on PC mistakes and score 2 more goals. The last Mattawan goal was scored shorthanded into an empty-net as PC had pulled the goalie on a powerplay for a 2-man advantage.
PC outshot Mattawan 38-14 for the game. Mustang goalie Bryan Gracey stopped 9 of the 13 shots he faced and was a victim of many penalty kill, breakaway and turnover chance.
Mattawan Student Section
Mattawan had a large and boisterous student section at the game and they showed their love of Portage Central's Tyler Stolsky during the third period. They chanted "We Want Stolsky" and "Go make TikToks" over and over for a few minutes. Clearly the Mattawan students are big fans of Tyler's work on TikTok, where he is a social celebrity with over 59,000 followers and almost 400,000 Likes.
Mark Your Calendars> 1/29 @ 7:30pm
The Mustangs next play Mattawan on Wednesday, January 29th at 7:30pm for the Renbarger Jug. PC has won the Jug 13 of the last 17 years, including last year with a 3-1 Victory. Come early and be prepared to cheer as the rivalry between Mattawan and PC will be on full display.
Thank to Geoff Miller for taking great photos during the game and sharing them with us!
View them on our Flikr site>