Portage Central reclaimed the Renbarger Jug in Saturday’s hockey main event with a 3-1 victory over Mattawan. The win also secured second place in the SWMHSHL standings for the Mustangs and gave them the season sweep, having beaten the Wildcats 3-1 in December.
Junior goalkeeper Bryan Gracey had a strong performance, making 22 saves in the win. PC has now won 13 of the 17 Renbarger Jug games, taking the trophy back after losing it to Mattawan last season. Wildcat goalie Brendan Pellerito had 28 saves in defeat.
The lone first period goal came from Portage Central freshman Ryan Jaros, assisted by Jaden Sorenson. Both players would assist Hunter Maschke on the game’s second goal with 12:16 left in the second. Mattawan’s lone goal was a powerplay strike in the second by Jason Moreau, assisted by Sam Puzevic. PC tightened from there and added third period cushion on a Canyon Morse goal, assisted by Konnor McLeod and Will Anderson.
Mattawan finishes league play third at 5-5 and falls to 8-13-2 overall. Portage Central takes second at 7-3 and gets above .500 for the season at 11-10. The Mustangs and Wildcats will meet yet again on Wednesday in the second SWMHSHL tournament semifinal, which can be heard via JoeInsider.com around 7:50 p.m. The prior game sees the Southwest Michigan Blades against Portage Northern at 5:30.