Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2/22/2008 - Holman sparks rally as Jax win 13-9

PORTLAND, February 22, 2008 - Trailing 8-7 early in the fourth quarter, the Portland LumberJax needed a jolt to rally the team from a one goal deficit to the Calgary Roughnecks. The Jax found their surge in forward Matt Holman, who scored with 11:54 to play to ignite a 5-0 run that led to a 13-9 Portland victory in front of 7,349 wild fans at the Rose Garden Arena on Saturday evening. The win was the second in a row for the Jax (3-5), who moved a half game in front of the Roughnecks (2-5) for third place in the wild, West Division. Forwards Dan Dawson (2 goals, 3 assists) and Derek Malawsky (1 goal, 4 assists) and defenseman Brodie Merrill (2 goals, 3 assists) all had five points apiece in the winning effort.

"This was possibly the most complete game as a franchise we've ever played," said Head Coach/General Manager Derek Keenan. "It was a complete effort as we put together all facets of the game."

Malawsky found the back of the net first for Portland, cutting through and taking a pass from forward Ryan Powell (2 assists) who was fed by transition player Scott Stapleford to give Portland a 1-0 lead with 12:20 left in the first quarter. Calgary evened the game with 7:55 left on a goal from Kaleb Toth.

The Jax took their second lead of the game at 2-1 when forward Peter Morgan (3 goals) scored on the power play with 3:25 left. Dawson and Martin were credited with assists on the goal.

To open the second, the Roughnecks evened the game once again with 11:14 left in the second quarter on a transition goal from Nolan Heavenor. Once again, Heavenor struck with 9:54 left until the break to give Calgary its first lead.

Calgary continued to fire away, extending the lead to two as Jeff Shattler scored with 4:58 left. Portland answered back as defenseman Richard Morgan (2 goals) beat Calgary goalie Pat Campbell with 3:28 remaining in the half to cut the Roughneck lead to 4-3. Merrill assisted on R. Morgan's third goal of the season.

After reloading their arsenal at the half, the Roughnecks came out blazing, scoring the first two goals to extend their lead to three. Portland, however, had an ace up their sleeve. Gunslinger Dawson came back with 12:12 left in the third, shooting past Calgary goalie Ryan Avery to make it 6-4 in favor of the Roughnecks.

The 2-0 run ended as Calgary struck back with 10:52 in the quarter, extending the lead to 7-5 in favor of the road team.

Portland once again cut the lead to one as it scored off a fast break. Merrill and R. Morgan worked a series of exchanges before R. Morgan scored with 9:06 to play in the third.

Calgary came back, putting one past Jax goalie Matt King with 4:18 left in the third to extend the lead to two. However, Portland had the least laugh of the quarter. Off a rebound, P. Morgan scored his second goal of the game with 1:32 left in the third to make it 8-7 in favor of Calgary heading into the final quarter of regulation.

Playing in his first game since Feb. 2, Holman tied the game at eight with 11:54 left off a pass from Martin on the power play. The goal was Holman's second of the season, and could not have come at a better time.

Holman's goal began a scoring streak, as Martin scored with 9:35 to play in regulation to give Portland its first lead since the first quarter. Malawsky and defenseman Ian Crashley assisted on Martin's fourth goal of the season.

Dawson kept the run going, draining a deep perimeter shot to make it 10-8 in favor of the home team with 7:33 to play. Merrill and Malawsky tossed the ball around the perimeter, until Mr. Dangerous scored.

The lead continued to grow as P. Morgan notched the hat trick on a breakaway goal with 7:08 left. The 6'6" brute force could not be stopped as he took the ball the length of the floor and bested Campbell to make it 11-8.

The outpour continued as rookie forward Cory Conway scored with 2:43 left and then Merrill scored his second goal of the game with 2:01 to play to put the exclamation mark on the victory. Calgary would add a late goal, but it didn't matter as the Jax won 13-9.

King stopped 24 of the 33 shots he faced and P. Morgan collected 11 loose balls, a Portland career-high.

Notes: Powell has scored at least one point in all 35 career regular season games he's appeared in with Portland...Powell has tallied an assist in 34 straight regular season games...P. Morgan has scored at least one point in all 38 career regular season games he's appeared in with Portland...Merrill collected his 500th career loose ball in the first quarter...With the hat trick, P. Morgan is back in the franchise lead with 50 goals.

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