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Comeback Effort Falls Short In Hard-Fought Loss To Portland

The Eugene Generals (2-6-1) were unable to salvage a series split versus the Portland Jr. Winterhawks, dropping a 6-4 contest at The Rink Exchange.

After falling behind by three goals, the Generals put together an inspiring comeback. Yet, the offensive attack from Portland was too much, earning the Jr. Winterhawks the victory in another hard-fought game in the series.   

 “We have a really good team, but unfortunately right now they are picking and choosing when they play to their full effort,” said head coach Justin Kern. “We’ll make some adjustments at practice this week and get back at it.”

Eugene climbed to a two-goal advantage on Friday night, but Portland flipped the script on the Generals in the series finale. Just over five minutes in, a nifty behind-the-back pass from Mark Shchukin found the stick of Will Yeigh, who flipped in the puck in to give the Jr. Winterhawks a 1-0 lead.

In 4-v-4 action, Portland doubled their lead to two when Bennett Turley sniped an top-shelf shot past the reach of Skyler Larsen.

Eugene answered right back. Less than a minute following Turley’s goal, Coday forced a turnover in the Jr. Winterhawks zone and scored to cut Portland’s lead to 2-1 with 12:16 remaining.

Portland, however, didn’t take their foot off the pedal. Shchukin and Bryce Miller scored in succession to bump the Jr. Winterhawks lead to 4-1 in an impressive first period for the 18U organization.

The Coday show, though, continued for the Generals. With just over four minutes remaining in the first, Justyn Bayliffe delivered a pass through traffic to Coday. The Irvine, California native snuck a backhand through the five-hole of Portland goaltender Luke Nielson for his sixth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 4-2.

“Jared is a kid that really works hard for the team. He is always fired up,” said Kern. “I was happy to see him rewarded with a couple of points tonight.”

Following the Winterhawks overcoming a two-goal deficit on Friday, it was the Generals looking to play the role of spoiler in the final two periods of action.

After putting a close to the scoring in the first period, Eugene opened it back up in the second. Calvin Hennon found Coday near the net. Coday, who drew the attention of multiple Jr. Winterhawks players, slid a pass across the zone to Jacob Rhodes, who was presented with a wide-open net to make it 4-3.

Rhodes’ goal was the only scoring that ensued in the second period and for much of the third period. That changed when Eugene went on the power play and Generals captain Jackson Baughman fired one through to the back of the net and even the score at four with 10:39 remaining.  

After replacing an injured Larsen at the end of the first period, Carson Roisum stifled a Jr. Winterhawks scoring attack that got off to a hot start.

However, Portland’s offense finally broke free in the closing minutes. A pair of goals from Nielsen-Webb and Bennett Turley ended up giving the Jr. Winterhawks a 6-4 victory and series sweep.

The pair of Oregon organizations will face off again at the beginning of January back at The Rink Exchange.

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