The Portage Collegiate Trojans are now just one game away from returning to the Zone 4 High School Hockey League finals. PCI defeated the Pembina Tigers 3-2 in Game 1 of their best-of-three series tonight and have the opportunity to move on tomorrow night.
Easton Lounsbury gave Pembina the first lead of the game just 19 seconds into the first period and kept the score at 1-0 for the rest of the frame. Max Jago scored early in the second for the Tigers but then Portage began to make the comeback.
Alex Van Deynze found the back of the net midway through the second, and PCI went into the second intermission down one goal again. Whatever they did during the break seemed to work, as JJ Oke put home two goals in the span of 25 seconds early in the third and completely shifted the momentum of the game.
PCI was able to play solid defence the rest of the way and held on for a 3-2 victory. Oke says they knew they could play better than they did in the first period.
"I think we came out a little slow, and guys were realizing that in the room between periods," Oke continues. "We knew we could win. So, we put our heads down, beared down, and got to work."
With a shot at the finals up for grabs tomorrow in Pilot Mound, Oke describes what they'll have to do to avoid a do-or-die Game 3.
"I think we'll just have to come out strong, stay out of the box, and get pucks deep."
Puck drop for Game 2 in Pilot Mound is at 7:00 tomorrow night. If Pembina wins, the winner takes all Game 3 goes down on Saturday at the BDO Centre at 2:15.