The just over 1,600 fans who filled Stride Place were treated to a fantastic hockey game, as the Terriers drew first blood in the series, blanking the Stampeders 3-0 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 championship series.
As he has been all playoff long, Terrier goaltender Ethan Peterson was at the top of his game once again. With the Stampeders boasting five of the top seven scorers in the 2019 playoffs, Peterson had to be sensational, and he was, stopping all 34 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the post-season. In eight playoff games so far, the 20-year-old from Park River ND has not allowed more than two goals in a game, and currently sits with a 1.36 GAA and a remarkable .948 SV%.
Peterson had to play as close to perfect as he could because at the opposite end of the ice, Merek Pipes has been having a fantastic playoffs of his own, and on Friday night, kept the Stampeders within striking distance all night. Pipes, who has allowed three-or-fewer goals in 10-of-11 playoff games, knocked aside 28-of-31 shots for just his third loss of the post-season.
This series was always going to be close. With both clubs finishing at or near the top of numerous offensive and defensive categories during the regular season, and just six points separating them in the standings at the end of the regular season, there wasn’t much to give between the Terriers and the Stamps.
The Terriers struck first, with Joey Moffat connecting on the power play midway through the opening period with his fourth goal of the post-season to put Portage up by one. In the second period the goaltending took over with each side firing 13 shots apiece, but nobody could find the back of the net.
Just past the midway point of the third period, Ty Barnstable put home his third of the playoffs, before a late goal from Chase Brakel sealed the deal for the Terriers in Game 1.
Going back to the regular season the Terriers have now rattled off 15 consecutive wins, while the Stampeders suffered their first road loss of the post-season Friday night.
The two clubs will get Saturday off before meeting for Game 2 in Swan Valley on Sunday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30.