The Portage Islanders grabbed a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series with Winkler last night. They won their opening South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League Playoff game 6-2 over the Royals at Stride Place in Portage.
The Royals got out front thanks to a Mark Hildebrand goal in a quick first period, but the Islanders battled back to tie it at one with just under two minutes to go in the frame. Tanner Waldvogel scored his first of the night. Dan Leslie and Anders Strome picked up the assists on the play.
"It took a while to break them down," says forward Zack Waldvogel. "They got up one but I thought we stayed the course and didn't panic. We really did well the rest of the game to get the win."
The second period was all Portage. Eric Delong and Tanner Blight connected for back-to-back Islander goals. Delong scored first with Blight assisting on the play, he then returned the favour by picking up the main assist on Blight's goal toward the end of the second.
Portage made it 4-0 a little less than five minutes into the final 20 minutes. Jordyn Boyd picked up his first of the playoffs with Chris Reykdal picking up the only assist on the play. The Royals found the back of the net on the powerplay, this time it was Marlin Froese beating Islander goalie Mitch Wiebe. Portage quickly answered back just four minutes later. Reykdal found an opening in the high slot and ripped one post-and-in passed Royals netminder Matt Krahn. Tanner Waldvogel would get his second of the night with a couple minutes left in regulation.
Game two is Friday night in Winkler. Thursday's game finished with the Royals' emotions getting the better of them, and they were awarded a couple of penalties to close out the game. Zack Waldvogel expects the rest of their series to be very physical, much like the end of game one.
"They're a rough and physical team, and that's probably going to be their game plan against us. I think we just have to match that, but make sure we play our game too. I think we just need to get right on the attack quick, get an early lead, and build off that."
The Islanders lead the Royals 1-0 and game two is Friday in Winkler. Puck drop is 8 p.m.