Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sloppy third ruins Farkas' debut as Portland falls 4-3 to Prince George

Through the first 40 minutes of his first WHL start, rookie goalie Shane Farkas had the Portland Winterhawks sitting pretty. Powered behind two special teams goals and the superb play of Farkas, the Hawks were leading 3-1 over the team with the best record in the WHL. Then in the third period the wheels fell off for Portland as a very talented Prince George squad came out flying. The Cougars scored three third period goals to take the game 4-3. The game winner was netted after Portland's Matt Quigley fanned on an outlet pass right in front of Farkas, letting Kody McDonald jump on the puck and bury it past the unprepared Portland goalie. Bad turnovers right by their own net has been a bad habit for Portland lately as they've had one on each of their last three games that have come back to bite them. This one more so than the others. Kody McDonald and Jansen Harkins led the way for Prince George with two points apiece, while Henri Jokiharju with two assists.

Prince George got things going in the first period as they outworked the Winterhawks in front after a Brendan Guhle point shot created a rebound. After Colby McAuley got a whack at it, Jansen Harkins got two; putting the second past Farkas. Portland answered with a goal off an incredibly coordinated play by Ryan Hughes. Henri Jokiharju made a great play to get away from a P.G. attacker, keep the puck in and fire a shot on net through traffic. The rebound came out high in the air and it was batted in by Hughes for his 17th of the year.

The second period was one of the best Portland has played recently. First, they took advantage of a P.G. miscue to score a shorthanded marker. Tate Olson's pass across the blue line went through the legs of his power play blue line partner Radovan Bondra and off the boards. Skyler McKenzie jumped on the puck and skate down for a breakaway. He went forehand-backhand, before sliding it between Ty Edmonds' wickets. Just a couple of minutes later Portland added to their lead with another goal from their number two power play unit. A Keoni Texeira shot was deflected in by Alex Overhardt providing Portland with a 3-1 lead.

Just 22 seconds into the third period that two-goal lead would be cut into. The pairing of Brendan De Jong and Caleb Jones had a lot to do with the goal against. First, De Jong could not quite get to a Josh Anderson clear and Jones tried a quick one-time clear near his own blue line. Jansen Harkins blocked the clear and went the other way with the puck. Both De Jong and Jones went to cover Harkins, leaving Radovan Bondra in front. Bondra received a slick pass from Harkins and backhanded it past Farkas. Later in the period, Matt Quigley fanned on an outlet pass right in front of the Portland goal. This allowed Kody McDonald to grab the puck right in front of an unprepared Farkas. McDonald waited out Farkas and lifted it over him. The Cougars did not stop there in their third period push as a Shane Collins shot from the point created a juicy rebound for Brad Morrison to backhand in. This would stand as the game-winning-goal as despite a strong effort from Portland to tie the game, Ty Edmonds stopped everything and the Cougars held on. Interestingly enough though Edmonds employed a veteran trick to help seal the victory. With seconds left and his team scrambling after Alex Overhardt tipped a shot just wide, Edmonds stood up and then pushed his net off of the moorings. It did not appear to be off at all and Portland plead for a delay-of-game penalty but could not get one called.

Edmonds turned away 33 of 36 to get the win while Farkas ended up with 34 saves on 38 shots.

Game Notes:
-The wheels really fell off for Portland in the third period as they were out shot 14-10 with most of their shots coming in the final few minutes.
-Shaun Dosanjh was a healthy scratch for Portland. This meant that with Keegan Iverson out with an injury (indefinitely) the Hawks were without an overage in the lineup for the third time this year.
-Keoni Texeira was all over the place in this game. He has been pretty reliable this year but has been the d-partner more comfortable with staying back while the other jumps into the play. Then he strings together a couple of nice rushes and you are reminded about how great of a skater he is.
-Farks had some very good moments in the game. Of the four goals only two could really be blamed on him. His best series of moments was on a few saves in a row on Radovan Bondra and Jackson Leppard in the first period. With Portland really swimming upstream in the third, Farkas kept things from getting out hand.
-Quigley shot redirected by Glass and McKenzie is stoned by Edmonds as the loose puck came to him.
-Ty Westgard was in for just his second game with the Hawks. He played with Jake Gricius and Lane Gilliss.
-Matt Quigley had a great game outside of the one really bad turnover. His speed was on display a couple of times as he recovered quickly to keep the Cougars from getting an odd-man rush the other way.

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