The Portland Winterhawks went into Spokane with a winning streak of impressive proportions and ended up ending both of the streaks, but not before playing some exciting hockey.
The first game saw Taylor Gauthier attempt to break the WHL record of over 265 minutes, dating back to the league’s debut. He had already claimed the Portland Winterhawks record of over 232 minutes and needed almost to claim another shutout game as he had done in the previous outing.
Just over six minutes into the game, Jaydon Dureau captured a pass from Jack O’Brien, moved out in front, and shot past Manny Panghli to put the Hawks up 1-0
Adam Litke added to the total with a few Hawks rushing end to end as a screen and allowed Litke his 13th of the season. Ryan McCleary added to the total with a powerplay goal after finishing off a play involving Tyson Kozak and Cross Hanas to increase the lead to 3-0.
Spokane finally broke the shutout and the streak. At the same time, on the powerplay with Erik Atchison’s 8th of the year, he batted in after Gauthier had made the initial save on Graham Sward, but the rebound went to Nick McCarry, who was stopped, but Atchison finally knocked it home. Taylor ends the streak at 251.11, just 14 minutes back of the WHL record but nearly 20 minutes past the Winterhawks record.
It became the Cross Hanas show with a penalty shot, short-handed goal, which came 5 minutes into the second period as he tucked the puck in the short side on Manny Panghli. Twelve minutes later, Marek Alscher roofed one over Panghli’s shoulder to put the Hawks up by a 5-1 margin at the end of two.
Ryan McCleary added to the total with a page out of Cross’s book, with a tuck-in on Panghli just over eight minutes into the third. Cross Hanas tapped in a Kurtis Smythe pass at the side of the net and capped off the night with his third goal of the night with a helper from Kyle Chykowski, marking only the second hat trick for the Hawks. Jaydon Dureau got the other a few nights ago.
The 8-1 win also saw the 44-36 shot advantage to the Hawks. Portland and Spokane each had six powerplay chances, but Spokane was able to convert one of their opportunities, where Portland wasn’t able to.
Though Spokane snapped the shutout streak on Gauthier, he remained unbeaten in all of his starts since coming to Portland.
It was Ryan Smith’s first time as coach of the Chiefs in the loss.
The next night, both teams changed goaltenders, with Dante Giannuzzi for the Hawks and Cooper Michaluk for the Chiefs taking to the ice.
After a scoreless first period where both goaltenders saw rubber as Portland outshot Spokane 15-9, the scoring took place just minutes into the second period.
Carter Streek started things off for Spokane when he was able to get the puck squirting through the legs of Dante Giannuzzi just over two minutes into the second period.
Marek Alscher countered for Portland just over five minutes later was able to float one from near the blue line to handcuff Cooper and tie the game.
Spokane took the lead nearly six minutes later with a Nic McCarry goal on the powerplay as he was at the side of the net to deflect a goal past Giannuzzi. Spokane led 2 to 1.
Five minutes into the third, Kooper Gizowski scored when he took a backhand pass from Erik Atchison to put past Dante for a 3-1 lead.
Luca Cagnoni tied to make things interesting when he could shoot through traffic and cut Spokane’s lead to a goal with half a period still to go.
Despite pulling Dante with just over two minutes left, they couldn’t find the equalizer and fell 3-2 against Spokane.
Portland held the edge in shots 38-23, and both teams scored once on the powerplay, with Portland having four tries, Spokane with five.
This is the Hawks’ only loss thus far in February, with a road game still to go against the Chiefs in an odd five games in a row against Spokane.
The last game of the series, which is scheduled for Tuesday, is a viewing party with fans being able to watch the webcast at Replay’s 15700 NE Blueridge in Beaverton at 7 pm with prizes from the Portland Winterhawks and the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club being there to sign up members and bring information about the club.
The Hawks will also have a road game against Tri-City on Friday, followed by a pair of home games on Saturday versus Seattle and Sunday versus Spokane. The Saturday game will be another “Everybody loves hockey,” celebrating Black History Month and several Hawks of color being at the game. The Hawks have partnered with non-profits BLAQ Athlete and Influencers of Neighborhoods to help with promotion. There will be auctions, memorabilia sales, chuck a puck, and other events held to go to College Scholarship Funds.
Sunday will be a Community Skate night with fans able to participate following the game with a skate on the Coliseum Ice. Skates can be rented at the Coliseum or in advance through the Winterhawks Skating Center for $20.