Portage Central won the 18th annual Renbarger Jug hockey game Wednesday 4-3 against Mattawan. The Mustang victory keeps PC right in the hunt with the Wildcats and Kalamazoo Eagles for the top spot in the SCHSHL South Division. The win also gives Portage Central back-to-back wins and a 14-4 record in Renbarger Jug games, named in honor of Mattawan student Ryan Renbarger who passed from leukemia in 2002.
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Beckett Saline and Justin Hayward. Mattawan matched them with two in the second period coming from Carson Byers and Lucas Slager.
With 11:06 left in the third, Hunter Maschke scored to put PC back ahead. The Wildcats tied it back up with 7:39 to go thanks to Cam Agnew. The Mustangs would get the decisive tally with 3:52 remaining from Maschke, assisted by Hayward. PC’s Bryan Gracey had 31 saves in the victory with Mattawan’s Brendan Pellerito stopping 25.
The result adds some intrigue to the South division standings. It’s Mattawan’s first defeat, putting them at 5-1 along with the Kalamazoo Eagles, who won 4-1 Wednesday against Kalamazoo United. Portage Central is now 4-2 with another shot against the Eagles coming next Wednesday, which you can hear live via JoeInsider.com.
PC is 7-9 overall and has a weekend non-conference trip to Chelsea ahead against Livonia Franklin Saturday and Anchor Bay Sunday. Mattawan drops to 13-5 and has games at Cadillac Friday and Big Rapids Saturday. The Wildcats then meet Portage Northern next Wednesday for division play, also to be broadcast via JoeInsider.com.