The Portland Winterhawks trekked over to Vancouver Island with a two-game matchup vs. the Victoria Royals. The games featured two very different outcomes.
The first saw the Royal snag a 5-3 win despite being badly outshot 50-32. Tyler Palmer, goaltender of the Royals, was given the first star of the game. Tyson Kozak started things well for the Hawks just 1:35 into the game with a shot just out in front.
Tarun Fizer tied things up as the trailer on a 3 on 2 and used the man in front as a screen as he got it past Taylor Gauthier. Off the faceoff in the Hawks end, Riley Gannon, while on the powerplay, pounced on a loose puck and scored right in front of the net.
The Royals picked it up in period two in just 57 seconds with Luke Shipley taking the puck and used the maze of players crowding Gauthier to register his third of the season. Three minutes later, Robbie Fromm-Delorme sored on a mini breakaway but was countered by a Bailey Peach Penalty Shot. Fromm-Delorme got that one back where he whacked the puck while back-handed and redirected it past Palmer.
Despite the Hawks battery of shots, Palmer found highlight-reel saves to keep Victoria in the lead. With Gauthier out, Tarun Fizer scored an empty-net goal to seal it for Victoria. At 5-3, Portland wasn’t able to convert any of the three powerplay opportunities afforded the, while Victoria went 1 for three on theirs. The final score was 5-3.
The two teams went at it the next night with another Hawks barrage at 51 shots versus just 28 for the Royals. Taylor Gauthier once again handled the pipes while Arnold Campbell took the assignment for the Royals.
Robbie Fromm-Delorme started things off for Portland five minutes into the game as he banked the puck off Campbell’s left pad at the side of the net. Clay Hanus scored for Portland while on the powerplay as he sat between the two faceoff dots and used the traffic of two Royals players who were trying to move out Portland’s Tyson Kozak to claim his 14th of the year.
The Royals came back, though, with Brayden Schuurman off the faceoff with a Tarun Fizer pass that allowed him to have a virtually open net shot. Portland would then pick up the next three goals on Tyler Palmer in under three minutes. Cross Hanas scored his first of two on the night after a cross-ice pass in the Royals zone from Marek Alscher. Gabe Klassen got into the act with the Royals couldn’t clear the zone. James Stefan set up Gabe for the Hawks’ fourth goal. Cross Hanas capped things off for Portland with a messy goal in front that seemed to fool Tyler Palmer. Midway through the third period, Marcus Almquist converted a shot from in front and ended the scoring at 5-2. The Hawks went 1 for 5 on the powerplay and stopped all three of Victoria’s chances.
The Hawks will end the road trip with a game in Kent, WA, versus Seattle Thunderbirds before a quick return home to face the Vancouver Giants. With the mask mandate at the Rose Quarter ending that night, fans will also see the mascots as the filter around the Veterans Memorial Coliseum before taking part in the annual on-ice battle.
With the win, Portland sits one point back of Everett for the US Division lead but gives three games up to Everett.
In CHL Poll news Edmonton Oil Kings still hold down first overall in the poll, with Charlottetown Islanders vaulting to second. Making a massive jump in the poll are the Hamilton Bulldogs, now ranked third overall. Winnipeg Ice slips to fourth, and sliding with them was Everett Silvertips, who are now ranked fifth. Not changing spots are the Portland Winterhawks at sixth, with Kamloops Blazers moving up a spot to seventh. Rounding out the poll are Shawinigan Cataractes, Quebec Ramparts, and London Knights. Honorable mentions go to Flint Firebirds, Sherbrooke Phoenix, and Saint John Sea Dogs.