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Portage drops weekend doubleheader to NAIT

Next Voyageur home game is Saturday against Vikings

LAC LA BICHE - The NAIT Ooks brought their four-game undefeated streak to the Bold Center and the four-game winless record of the Portage College Voyageurs on Friday night. It was the first game of a two-night home-and home-stand that saw both steaks continue.

 Despite being on opposite ends of the ACAC league standings, Friday's mid-season home-opener was a back and forth tilt, fought within a one-goal margin for most of the game. NAIT eventually came away with a 3-1 victory with two late-game goals.

Saturday's re-match wasn't such a close outcome, with NAIT winning 8-2.

Hard fight for short roster

The Voyageurs went into Friday's game with a bench reduced by injury, some COVID protocols and some players out on course-related work placements. Several lines were adjusted to fill open spots on the defence. Despite the roster issues, and a first period goal by the Ooks, the Voyageur lines kept the game within reach, including goalie Jacob Gnidziejko, stopping a penalty shot attempt late in the first period. The 1-0 scoreboard went midway into the third period, when Voyageurs' forward Ty Budai scored a power-play goal from Shane Sherban and Liam Visram. The score only stayed tied for 30 seconds, and the Ooks got their third goal three minutes later.  

Budai's goal kept him tied for second-place overall for points and goal leaders in the ACAC with eight points on the season so far.

On Saturday, the first five goals of the game came from NAIT. The Voyageurs finally answered with two quick goals midway through the second period — one from Jordan Picard, the other from Kona Jackson — but that was all they had for a comeback attempt. The Ooks scored their sixth goal as Jackson's was still being announced. NAIT scored another at the end of the second and their final goal early in the third.

While the scoreboard was one-sided, the shots on net for both teams was balanced, with Voyageurs net-stop Luke Hall facing 31 shots, and Ooks goalie Taryn Kotochorek seeing 32.

The weekend wins gives NAIT 12 points in the league standings, and move them into top spot of the ACAC standings.. The loss keeps the Voyageurs with zero points on the season.

The next game for the Voyageurs is on Friday, Jan. 21 against the Augustana Vikings in Camrose.  The team is on Bold Center ice the following night for the second game of the home-and-home stand.  Saturday's game starts at 7 pm.

Augustana is one place above the Voyageurs in the standings with a record of one win and five losses in their first six games.

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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