LAC LA BICHE - The Portage College Voyageurs men's hockey team bounced back from a 4-0 shutout loss on home ice Friday night to beat the SAIT Trojans in the rematch game the following afternoon.
The back-to-back home games at the Bold Center were the first games for the Voyageur squad since the start of an extra-long holiday break that began on Nov. 26. Friday's game — also an awareness night for the college's Make Some Noise For Mental Health campaign — drew almost 200 fans to the arena. The Friday the 13th game ended up being a lucky one for SAIT. The Trojans scored the opening goal of the game with less than two minutes off the clock, and didn't look back, scoring another in the second and two more in the third period to seal the deal.
Voyageurs goalie Alex Brousseau faced 32 shots in the game
The win kept the Trojans in second place overall in the seven-team Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC). The loss kept the Voyageurs in last place,
While the first game of 2023 for the Voyageurs wasn't the comeback to league play the team and fans were hoping for, Saturday's game was. The home-team scored three unanswered goals before the Trojans could respond in the dying seconds of the second period. The Trojans narrowed the gap early in the third with their second goal, but the Voyageurs continued with the pressure, scoring two more by the midway point of the period.
A Portage bench penalty for too many players on the ice resulted in a Trojans' power-play goal with 10 minutes to play in the game, and another power-play goal with less than five minutes — after a hooking call on Voyageurs' Xavier Halterman — brought the Trojans to within just one. SAIT pulled their goalie in the final 90 seconds of the game, fighting with the extra attacker, but the Voyageurs and netminder Jacob Gnidziejko held them off for the 5-4 win. Gnidziejko faced 40 shots on the night. The Voyageurs offence fired 39 on SAIT.
Saturday's win gives the Voyageurs a record of three wins and 11 losses on the season. Two of the team's losses were in overtime results.
The Trojans left the win-and-loss weekend with a regular season record of nine wins and five losses, including one overtime loss.
The weekend results leave the Voyageurs in last place of the ACAC with eight points — 11 points back of league-leading Red Deer Polytechnic. The Voyageurs are six points back of sixth place Concordia in the league.
The Voyageurs have 10 games left in the regular season. Playoffs for the ACAC begin at the start of March. Only the top six teams of the seven in the league advance to the playoff round.
The next game for the Voyageurs is an away match with the Augustana Vikings on Jan. 20. The teams play on Bold Center ice the following night. The Bold Center game starts at 7 p.m.