Portland hoped they would easily return from their forgettable 7-3 drubbing last week by Tri-City as they welcomed Kelowna for a pair of games this past weekend.
Things were solid during the first, with Dante Gianuzzi stopping anything coming his way and Taryn Boyko doing the same. Portland almost got on the board when Boyko misplayed the puck behind the goal with Nicholas Johnston on the doorstep, but he couldn’t get his stick on the puck with a couple of whacks. Marcus Alscher finally put Portland on the board with a shot right in front of Boyko.
Marcus Nguyen put the Hawks up by 2 with a short-handed goal, and the Hawks led by two at the end of two.
Just 33 seconds into the third, Kelowna’s powerplay clicked with a Marcus Pacheco over the shoulder of Dante Giannuzzi’s goal and cut the lead to one. Portland got that back with a James Stefan marker between the pillows of Boyko. Marcus Nguyen was stopped by Boyko later in the third to keep Kelowna in it.
Andrew Cristall made it a one-goal game with a shot that stretched Dante, but to no avail, as it went in.
With 5 seconds left and Boyko out for an extra attacker, Nolan Flamand tucked in the puck past Dante, who made a few saves on the play. That goal sent the game to overtime. Cristall got his second of the night on a breakaway as he tried to shoot one side and tucked the puck behind Dante’s skate for the 4-3 overtime win. Portland was credited with 45 shots to 29 for the Rockets, and each team was awarded three powerplays, with Kelowna scoring on one of those.
The Hawks took to the ice the next night against the same Rockets and started Jan Spunar.
Kelowna opened the scoring with John Babcock from the blueline and a bouncer fooling Spunar for the first goal of the game.
James Stefan was fed a pass and roofed it over Jari Kykkanen to leave the game knotted at the end of the period.
Gabriel Szturc scored with Spunar trying to get to the puck. Portland’s Aiden Litke tied it up late in the second period as he made good on his second attempt in front of Kykkanen. Kelowna thought they took the lead, but the goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference.
Gabe Klassen scored on a wraparound to put the Hawks up by one. James Stefan had a penalty shot due to interference in front of the goal, with Babcock closing his hands on the puck, but he could not score.
Kelowna’s Riley Kovacevic stole the puck in the Hawks’ zone to even the score.
Portland then took the lead when Carter Southern wired a shot between the pads of Kykkanen to give the Hawks the lead. Kelowna once again pulled their goaltender, and this time, the Hawks triumphed. Stealing the puck in the Hawks zone, Robbie Fromm-Delorme wired a shot, but it bounced off the post. He rushed down to secure the puck again and found Kyle Chyzowki on the doorstep for the tip into the empty net and a 5-3 win for the Hawks.
Portland was hammering on the Rockets with a 48-16 shot differential, and while Portland went 0-1 on the man advantage, Kelowna scored once on four tries.
Up next will be a Wednesday night game vs. Prince George Cougars. What’s important about them is they beat Seattle snapping the unbeaten streak and will face the Thunderbirds in Seattle the night before Portland. Portland will end the week with Hawks Fight Cancer on Friday, November 4.
Prince George came close the night prior in PG with a 5-4 loss to Seattle but came back the following night with a 4-1 win over Seattle.
The next few games will be exciting tests for sure.