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Goalie duel at Stride Place

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

The Winkler Royals celebrate after Tristan Loewen scored the game-winner in the shootout as the 11th shooter to give it a shot for the Royals. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

The Winkler Royals celebrate after Tristan Loewen scored the game-winner in the shootout as the 11th shooter to give it a shot for the Royals. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Twenty-two different shooters took the spotlight for an exciting, but disappointing, finish.

The Portage Islanders managed to snag a point off Winkler Saturday night when they fell 2-1 in a shootout against the Royals in South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League action at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.

“We just couldn’t find a way to beat Krahn later in the game,” says Islanders player/GM, Jeremy Brooks. “Mitch (Wiebe) was outstanding for us, too. We just couldn’t find a way to get the game winner by when we were pressing in the third. We needed something out of that game and at least we got the one.”

The Royals were on the board first scoring with eight minutes remaining in the first period. Portage bounced back when Daryl Flett scored to deadlock the game 1-1 a minute later. 40 minutes later both goalies looked nearly unbeatable as the game remained tied at 1, and after a short overtime period, a shootout was needed.

A total of 22 shooters went in alone to try and seal the victory for their respective clubs, but it was the Islanders who struck first on their seventh shooter. Brandon Lauder went in on Winkler goalie Matt Krahn and with a slick toe drag managed to lightly slide the puck into the net along the ice on the far side. Royals’ Jason Peters went right after and managed to tie the game up with a beauty of a shot that beat Islander goalie Mitch Wiebe. Five shooters later and Tristan Loewen scored the game-winner for the Royals.

“We’re still right in the race and it really depends on who’s going to get a run going in the New Year,” admits Brooks, as the Islanders sit in fifth, three points back of first place Warren. “We’ve got the Mercs one more time before the break. They’ve been good and we’ve struggled against them. We need to find a way to beat them because a win would bring us that much closer to the top spot.”

Portage has two more games left before the New Year. The Islanders host Warren at Stride Place December 22, and then visit Morden December 28.


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