However, less than a minute later, Cason Hohmann set up Ryan McGrath, who completed a 2-on-1 transition by tipping Hohmann’s pass past Joel Vienneau.
Jayson Megna, the Riders’ regular-season leader with 30 goals, scored his first of the postseason on a fortuitous centering pass that banked past Vienneau with just less than five minutes to play in the second. Matt Berry had a point-blank chance to draw the Jacks even, but Hjelle stoned him with the leg pad twice with just over a minute left in the middle frame. The Jacks had to kill off 1:43 of 5-on-3 time shortly after Megna’s goal to keep the deficit at a single goal.
Megna doubled the Riders’ advantage when he threw the puck at the net from the left-wing half wall, beating Vienneau with 2:35 gone by in the third. The Jacks’ penalty kill finally was solved when Stu Wilson scored with just less than six minutes left in regulation.
Game 2 will take place at the Stable on Friday. The puck again will drop at 8:05 p.m.