Cougars Arrive Home Even At 2-2 With Portland
The first round series between the Prince George Cougars and the Portland Winterhawks is now guaranteed to go at least six games thanks to some third period heroics from the Winterhawks in Game 4 Thursday night. With the Cougars leading 4-3 in the third period, 20-year-old Matt Revel struck twice unanswered for the Winterhawks, staking them to a 5-4 comeback victory at home. Caleb Jones assisted on the first four goals of the game for the Winterhawks while goaltender Cole Kehler turned aside 29 of the 33 shots fired his way. Radovan Bondra had a goal and an assist for the Cougars who will now host Game 5 of this best-of-seven series on Saturday night at CN Centre.
Fresh off a 6-1 victory in Game 3 the Cougars found themselves ahead 2-0 shortly past the mid-way point of the first period. Aaron Boyd knocked home his third of the season off a Brendan Guhle rebound at 8:12 of the first, then Jesse Gabrielle made it 2-0 at 11:17 when he wired his first of the series past a sprawled Cole Kehler.
Late in the first though Portland answered with two goals of their own. First it was Evan Weinger who parked himself in front of Ty Edmonds and one-timed home a pass from Ryan Hughes and in for his first of the playoffs. A minute and 32 seconds later Skyler McKenzie snuck a wrist shot through traffic and home on a Winterhawks power play for his team leading third goal of the post-season. After one period the score was 2-2 with the Cougars holding a 15-8 edge in the shots department.
8:20 into the second period the Winterhawks power play struck again. This time it was captain Keegan Iverson who took a pass from Cody Glass, skated into the high slot area before placing a perfect shot past the glove of Ty Edmonds for his second of the series. Caleb Jones added an assist – His third of the night.
Nikita Popugaev answered for the Cougars though at the 15:46 mark on a power play of their own. Popugaev took a pass along the left wing, juked his way to the middle before firing his first of the playoffs past the stick of Cole Kehler.
Under two minutes later Radovan Bondra was able to sneak home his second of the playoffs from in close beside the Winterhawks net, and through 40 minutes the Cougars led the Winterhawks 4-3 while outshooting them 24 – 16.
Matt Revel got Portland back on even terms at the 8:54 mark when he was able to follow up a Henri Jokiharu rebound and tuck it past Edmonds for his first of the series. Twice the Cougars failed to clear their own zone defensively in the seconds before Revel’s equalizer.
Back came the Cougars with a glorious chance. Aaron Boyd was sent in all alone on a breakaway, but was turned aside by the right pad of Cole Kehler. The Winterhawks would reward their netminder in the moments to come.
Former Cougar Shaun Dosanjh let a shot go from the left point that deflected past Ty Edmonds and in off the stick of Matt Revel to grab Portland the final lead of the hockey game. Revel’s goal came at 15:34. Despite a valiant pushback in the final minutes, the Winterhawks were able to seal the deal and send the series back to Prince George tied 2-2.
Portland ended the game two-for-four on the power play while the Cougars finished one-for-three. Ty Edmonds faced 32 shots and made 27 saves for PG while Cole Kehler bounced back with a 29 save effort to earn his second victory of the series.
Game 5 will now take place on Saturday night at CN Centre in front of what should be an electric atmosphere in Prince George. Game 6 will take place back in Portland on Monday night at 7 PM.