Sports Local Hockey

Blues strike first

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Devon Skoleski celebrates his game winning goal in the second overtime period of Friday night's MJHL quarter final series opener in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Devon Skoleski celebrates his game winning goal in the second overtime period of Friday night's MJHL quarter final series opener in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

It took until double overtime until a winner was decided.

Devon Skoleski scored 5:09 into the second overtime period to lead the Winnipeg Blues to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Portage Terriers Friday night at Stride Place to take a 1-0 lead in the MJHL quarter final series.

"We can be better," said Blake Spiller, head coach/GM of the Portage Terriers following the Game 1 loss. "We didn't get enough out of everybody here tonight. But it's one game in a series. Sometimes the first game at home can be a little bit tough on teams and hopefully we'll settle in here now and know we're in a series."

Ty Enns opened the game's scoring just before the half way mark of the second but the lead was short lived, as Brady Castellano answered back just 2:15 later with a power play marker.

James McIsaac restored the Terrier lead soon after, the Winnipeg native picked up the puck in the slot after linemate Jeremey Leipsic had a shot attempt blocked before spinning and firing it past Blues' netminder Jeremy Link.

Castellano answered back in the early stages of the third period, converting on a Devon Skoleski feed, firing the puck up and over Terrier netminder Lasse Petersen.

"The first period I thought was a feeling out period for both teams and it seemed to get going after that," adds Spiller. "The good chances, I thought we out chanced them in that department. Link made some good saves and got a little bit lucky and that's part of being good back there."

After a scoreless 10 minute overtime period, Skoleski picked up the puck at the Terrier blue line just past the five minute mark of the second extra frame, broke in against a pair of Portage defenders and fired a low shot that squeaked through Petersen and into the Terrier goal.

The Dogs' league-leading penalty kill from the regular season remained hot, killing 4-of-5 Winnipeg opportunities including Mackenzie Dwyer's four-minute double minor late in the third period just to force extra time. The Terriers failed to capitalize on either of their two power play chances.

"We didn't expect it was going to be an easy series so we'll look to get back to even terms on Sunday and then go from there," Spiller adds.

Game 2 is set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening at the Bell MTS Iceplex in Winnipeg.


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