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Cougars even up series with Winterhawks

A best-of-seven series has now become a best-of-five thanks to the Cougars excellent response on Sunday at home. Aaron Boyd scored twice and Ty Edmonds was outstanding in goal as the Prince George Cougars earned a 5-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks in front of 4,141 strong at CN Centre.

Fresh off a 4-2 victory in Game 1, Portland started Game 2 strongly. Ty Edmonds had to made a number of saves in the early minutes to get into a groove and it’s a groove that he’d stay in all night. Portland outshot the  Cougars 17-10 in the first period but the Cougars would grab the lone goal.

At the 15:57 mark Brad Morrison, who was playing in his first game since February 24th, hopped onto a loose puck in the slot and turned and fired a shot past the blocker of Winterhawks netminder Cole Kehler. Morrison’s goal was set up by Ryan Schoettler and Brogan O’Brien.

Early in the second period the Winterhawks had their share of good looks, but Ty Edmonds always seemed to have the answer. Edmonds’ strong play would be rewarded when Aaron Boyd snuck his first of the playoffs past Cole Kehler at the 8:32 mark. Tanner Wishnowski got the play started when he forced a turnover deep in the Portland zone. Wishnowski then fed a pass to Boyd in the slot for the one-time finish.

Aaron Boyd wasn’t done. With just a minute and 25 seconds remaining in the second period Boyd out-waited the Portland defenceman in the left circle and snapped a shot past Kehler’s glove to make the score 3-0. Moments before the 3-0 goal, Ty Edmonds came up huge during a Portland five-on-three power play opportunity. The shots were 33-19 for Portland through two, but the Cougars led 3-0.

Less than one minute into the final period the Cougars struck twice more in quick succession. Just 22 seconds into the period Shane Collins blasted home a shot from the right point when Portland failed to clear the zone. Then 35 seconds later Radovan Bondra knocked home a Jesse Gabrielle rebound on a power play, which spelled the end of the night for Cole Kehler. Kehler was pulled after making 19 saves on 24 shots faced. In came backup Shane Farkas who went a perfect 12-for-12.

Cody Glass struck late for Portland on a power play to spoil the shutout bid of Ty Edmonds. Glass’ first of the series came on the Winterhawks 38th shot of the night. The final shot total was 41-36 favoring the Winterhawks.

Tempers flared in the final minutes of the third as the officials handed out a total of five 10-minute misconducts between the two teams. Shortly thereafter though the final horn sounded and the Cougars mobbed their goaltender before saluting the great crowd of 4,141.

Both teams would finish the game one-for-four on the power play. The Cougars are now two-for-seven for the series while the Winterhawks are three-for-nine.

With the win the Cougars and Winterhawks are now tied 1-1 in the series which now shifts south to Portland for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 goes Wednesday at 7 p.m. while Game 4 falls on Thursday, also at 7. Game five will go back in Prince George on Saturday, April 1 and tickets are now available online.

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