The Prince George Cougars came up just short in game two, falling 2-1 to the Portland Winterhawks at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
The Winterhawks now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with game three set for Tuesday, April 26, in Prince George.
Portland’s Kurtis Smythe scored the only goal in the first period, as his point shot found the back of the net at 13:09. Teammate Luca Cagnoni doubled the Winterhawks’ lead midway through the second period at 13:54, when he scored off the rush from the left wing.
The Cougars’ Jonas Brøndberg cut the Winterhawks’ lead in half late in the second, as he scored his first career WHL playoff goal at 16:29 to make it 2-1. Brøndberg’s shot went off a Portland stick and bounced in.
Tyler Brennan was excellent for Prince George, especially in crunch time. Brennan stopped 19 third period shots, including a highlight reel save on Cross Hanas on Portland odd-man rush. Brennan’s 44 saves earned him third star honours.
“That’s two games in a row we had them on the ropes one way or another,” said Associate Coach Josh Dixon. “Absolutely impressed by our group in terms of their compete level, the number of guys stepping up, and the pace we’re playing at against a good, deep team. We could have easily come out of here with a split.”
Craig Armstrong did not play Saturday, as he was given a two-game suspension stemming from a five-minute major penalty in Game One. Sixteen-year-old defenceman Ephram McNutt made his WHL debut on Saturday for Prince George. Saturday was Brennan’s first start since April 1 against the Kelowna Rockets.
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