The Portage Central Mustangs defeated the Portage Northern Huskies 3-2 Wednesday for their first Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) victory of the season. The win also avenges the December defeat in the canoe game for a regular season split between the crosstown rivals.
Portage Northern led initially as Will Todd had the first period’s lone goal with 11:19 remaining. On a powerplay early in the second, Drew McNassor tied the game for Portage Central. Midway through the frame, Erek Decker put the Mustangs ahead for the first time and with 2:37 remaining in the second, Mitchell Ely made it 3-1.
The score stayed there until the final minute of the game, as Grant Ernst tallied the second Husky score with 59 seconds to go. Portage Northern couldn’t beat Mustang goalie Bryan Gracey again in the final minute, allowing the Mustangs to hold on. Gracey was credited officially with 28 saves, his counterpart Peter Todd had 27 for the Huskies.
The win lifts Portage Central to 2-9 overall and 1-4 in the SWMHSHL, even with the Kalamazoo Eagles for fifth. They head north to Traverse City to face Escanaba Saturday, then meet the Eagles next Wednesday.
Portage Northern falls to 4-9 overall and 3-3 within the league, one of three teams at .500 (both Kalamazoo United and Mattawan are 2-2). The Huskies host Hudsonville Saturday afternoon.