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Offence dries up in Winnipeg

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Brady Castellano's shorthanded tally in the third period of Game 2 ended any Terrier comeback hopes. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Brady Castellano's shorthanded tally in the third period of Game 2 ended any Terrier comeback hopes. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

You can't win if you can't score goals.

The offence struggled to generate much of anything despite five power play opportunities as the Winnipeg Blues cruised past the Portage Terriers 5-1 Sunday night at the BellMTS Iceplex to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Manitoba Junior Hockey League quarter final series.

"I didn't think we were hard enough on them, we did have some opportunities but I thought (Jeremy) Link was good here tonight (in goal)," says Blake Spiller, head coach/GM of the Terriers. "We just weren't good enough to make it tough on him."

Game 1 hero Devon Skoleski opened the scoring at the 13:56 mark of the first period with his first of two on the night to put the hosts in front. Cody Thompson answered back for the Terriers in the early stages of the second, the defender fired a shot that Link got a piece of, but not enough, as it trickled into the Blues' goal.

The game didn't stay square for long, as less than two minutes later Brendan Bartlett restored the Winnipeg lead. Skoleski increased that lead to two late in the period with a wrister that beat Terrier goalie Lasse Petersen high, over top of his glove hand.

The Terriers struggled to produce much in the final frame, throwing just five shots toward the Blues' goal, each of which were handled by Link, who has been stellar through the opening two games. The Blues netminder has allowed just three goals in nearly seven periods worth of hockey through the opening two games.

"We haven't really got a whole bunch of bounces here but everyone knows you need to work to get your bounces," adds Spiller. "If you don't have guys who want to hang around in (front of the net) than it's going to be hard to get the second opportunities."

Brady Castellano's third of the series, a short handed marker 6:52 into the third, took the wind from the Terrier sails as Winnipeg cruised to victory. Kelton Sutherland scored an empty netter late to cap off the scoring.

"I think their back end was a lot better tonight then in Game 1 and we just seemed to struggle to get pucks moving," says Spiller. 

Petersen made 26 saves in the loss while Link turned aside 26 of 27 Terrier shots.

The Terriers failed to capitalize on any of their five power play chances, nor did the Blues on their two.

The two teams meet back in Portage Tuesday night for Game 3, puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.


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