The Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) Trojans varsity hockey team is one loss away from elimination.
Layne Simonson scored to break a 2-2 deadlock, as the Carman Cougars edged the PCI Trojans 3-2 in Game 1 of their best-of-five Zone 4 High School Hockey League playoff quarter-final series Monday night in Carman.
The No. 2 seeded Cougars can knock out the No. 7 seeded Trojans with a win Friday, when the series shifts back to Stride Place in Portage la Prairie.
"I'm absolutely certain we can bounce back. I can guarantee you Carman wasn't that kind of a game from us," says Trojans head coach Chris Delong. "We're proud of the boys' first effort. That's the league's second-place team and they were virtually neck-and-neck with the league's No. 1 place team."
Carman jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period. Grade 9 forward Scott Atkins struck first to put the Cougars ahead 1-0. Then Matt Lehmann found the net to make it 2-0 for the hosts. The Trojans responded before the end of the first, as Matt Boychuk scored to cut Carman's lead to 2-1.
In the second period, Jaden Bohn scored the lone goal to tie the game 2-2. Carman re-gained its lead early in the third, as Simonson scored on a knuckling shot to make it 3-2.
"We (pulled our goalie) and peppered them with chances at the end," says Delong. "We just couldn't put one in."
Game 2: Friday, Feb. 17 — 7:30 p.m. at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie
Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, Feb. 19 — 5 p.m. Carman Arena