The road of the Eastern Swing wasn’t as kind to the Portland Winterhawks as they wanted going 2 and 4, but they made up for it big time when they got back.
First up was Victoria, who made a trade to get goaltender Braden Holt who has been the backstop for Everett Silvertips this season. It was only 12 seconds into the game when James Stefan put the hometown boys up. From there, the teams traded goals, with Stefan getting his second of the night while on the powerplay to leave it deadlocked at 2.
To the second where Gabe Klassen scored the first of the night midway through the period, only to see two goals by Victoria and their first lead of the game at the end of the period.
The third saw Robbie Fromm-Delorme score early, followed by two Victoria goals to give them a 6-4 lead. The Hawks went gutsy with pulling Gianuzzi with about 3 minutes left, and Gabe Klassen was able to get his second of the night.
Mike Johnston rolled the dice again with 2 minutes left, and it was Robbie Fromm-Delorme with his second of the night to tie the game at six and head to overtime.
The Hawks completed the comeback with a Kyle Chykowski goal 2 and a half minutes in, giving the Hawks a 7-6 OT win. The shots saw Portland with a 42-36 advantage and a perfect 1-for-1 on the powerplay while shutting down Victoria’s 2-man advantages.
Next up were the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who were coming off a tough 3-2 OT loss to Seattle on a penalty shot.
The Hawks’ lone meeting with the Hurricanes saw the Canes draw first blood on the powerplay just over 14 minutes in.
To the second where Robbie Fromm-Delorme on the powerplay and newly acquired Chaz Lucius from the Winnipeg Jets scored to put the Hawks up 2-1 going into the third.
Gabe Klassen on the powerplay, Diego Buttazoni, and an empty-net goal with Robbie Fromm-Delorme’s second of the night, gave the Hawks a 5-2 win on home ice.
Portland outshot Lethbridge 41-30 and went 2 for 3 on the powerplay, limiting the Canes to 1 for 3 on theirs.
Two nights later, a very rare midday game in Portland was a Hookey for Hockey as the team welcomed a kids’ day to the VMC as they hosted the Spokane Chiefs.
Portland struck early again as just over 90 seconds into the contest, Gabe Klassen recovered the puck in the Spokane zone, went out front, and blasted a wrister from dead center. Brendan Jokims thought he’d put the Hawks up by two, but the goal was waved off, claiming goaltender interference. Seven minutes later, Spokane tied it up as Berkley Catton fired once into traffic and somehow found the puck again, where he used a backhand shot to tie it up.
Ryan McCleary scored his first of two during the first period, and the Hawks didn’t look back.
The second period was all Hawks as they scored four unanswered goals, first by Jack O’Brien on the powerplay, then McCleary’s second of the night, Marcus Nguyen the powerplay, and finally Gabe Klassen with his second of the night also on the powerplay to make it 6-1.
Portland never got on the board in the third period though they had 16 shots on net. Spokane had 11 in the period, but Gianuzzi shut them down as well.
Portland outshot Spokane 40-24 while going 3 for 8 on the powerplay and shutting down Spokane on their four tries.
Next up with the lone visit of the Swift Current Broncos as Pride Night hits the Rose City!
The Winterhawks took a bit of a hit of the CHL Poll with just an honorable mention after a tough road trip, but three wins will undoubtedly bolster their ranks come next go-round.
The Booster Club will be conducting Player of the Month on both the 27 and 29th and begin renewals and signups for the Booster Club a week later on February 4.