With Mother Nature about finished with dealing the Northwest and the Portland metro area with some harsh wintry weather conditions, it was time to get back to focusing on hockey. The Portland Winterhawks would have a pair of games with the Spokane Chiefs to make fans get out of being snowbound and true to form, the excitement warmed up many a fan.
The first game saw the Hawks grab the lead on the power play early in the first period, but Spokane tied the game on their only power play of the night. Just thirteen seconds after Spokane scored, the Hawks restored their lead. In the second, a goal early in the period, a goal midway through the period and the Hawks second power play goal of the night put the Hawks up by four. However, Spokane found ways to chip at the lead, cashing in near the end of the second period and two goals midway through the third, but were not able to get any closer as the Hawks took a 5-4 decision over the Spokane Chiefs. Both teams scored on all their power play opportunities and the Hawks outshout the Chiefs 33-32. During the second period Keegan Iverson was injured and did not return to the game.
The next night saw the Chiefs look to exact a bit of revenge. Just over a minute into the game, the Chiefs were on the board, but similarly to the previous night, a goal would be score just seconds later, this one by the Hawks Skyler McKenzie to tie the game. Two goals just over fifty seconds apart near the midway point of the first period by the Chiefs spelled the end of the night for Portland starter Cole Kehler. Recently signed goaltender Shane Farkas came in relief and gave up a goal early in the second period. However, three goals in just under three minutes by the Winterhawks tied the game at four. Keanu Yamamoto’s second goal of the night for Spokane restored their lead and they would add another midway through the third to take a two goal lead. The Winterhawks pulled Farkas for the extra attacker and saw them rewarded with a goal by Cody Glass with just over ninety seconds remaining in the contest. From there it was Spokane’s relentless near minute long prevention of the Hawks pulling their goaltender that took the real hope of a tie away from Portland. A few close calls with seconds remaining by the Hawks including the last thirty seconds on the power play weren’t enough and the Chiefs walked away with a 6-5 win. Both team scored once on the power play and Portland held the decisive edge in shots 43-25. The Hawks and Chiefs are separated by just two points in the standings in what appears to be an increasingly tough division battle with five points difference between third and fifth in the division.
The Hawks would get some sleep overnight before loading the bus and heading on the annual pilgrimage to the far north and a pair of games with the Prince George Cougars early in the week, with games against Kamloops and Kelowna towards the weekend.
The two missed games from the previous week were announced as rescheduled with the originally scheduled Friday January 6 game versus Everett being moved to Tuesday, January 24th in Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the January 7th game against Kamloops being moved to Tuesday, January 31st in the Moda Center. With the changes, Portland will not get as rested as they would have liked with just a couple of days from the northern trip coming home having to face the Tips and another weekend set in Kelowna and Everett on the road having the boys come home to play just two days later.
The Hawks will also announce in the coming weeks, a reschedule for the Burgerville meet and greet that was originally set for last Wednesday. With the ice causing major headaches for people and the interest in safety, the event was called off with the event looking for a new date.
The past weekend games at home saw the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division and the Portland Winterhawks collect new and gently used items for the annual “Keeping Portland Warm”. All the barrels at the game were stuffed full and overflowing with blankets, jackets, sweaters and more to help those in need deal with some of the areas coldest weather in some time.
Ice Chips: The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club will follow the team on its four game road trip to Prince George, Kamloops and Kelowna on their annual Canadian trip. The seven night, four game excursion will be the Booster Club’s second appearance in three years to the Northern capital of British Columbia and the first trip to Kamloops in nearly twenty years.