The Portland Winterhawks won 5-4 in a shootout against the Kamloops Blazers this Saturday night. With the win, the Winterhawks’ unbeaten streak this season extends to seven games. Saturday’s contest was also the first shootout of the season for Portland.
The game at Veterans Memorial Coliseum saw the visiting Kamloops Blazers getting an early lead. Just 7:27 into the first period, Logan Stankoven would feed Matthew Seminoff down low. Seminoff’s quick shot would beat Portland goaltender Dante Giannuzzi on the blocker side.
The Winterhawks would find a response just over a minute later. Nicholas Johnson would fight off a defender for a puck inside the faceoff circle. Johnson then had the space for a low wrist shot that Blazer’s goalie Dylan Ernst could only get a piece of. The puck would bounce into the back of the net, and the Winterhawks would tie the game at 1-1.
Kamloops kept the pressure on, finding two more goals before the end of the period. First, off a turnover behind the net, Stankoven would jam home a rebound chance to give the Blazers the edge. Then, with 54 seconds remaining in the period, the Winterhawks would fail to clear their defensive zone. Caedan Bankier would feed Seminoff a pass off the giveaway, and Seminoff would roof his shot to make the score at the end of the period 3-1 Kamloops.
The second period looked grim for the Winterhawks at first. Not only was Giannuzzi being tested with numerous difficult saves early, but the Blazers would find another goal 5:27 into the period. Bankier would redirect a shot from Drew Englot, and the puck would bounce into the net to make the score 4-1.
The Winterhawks found momentum halfway through the second period. Marek Alscher would steal the puck and force an odd-man rush on the penalty kill. His cross-ice pass found the stick of Robbie Fromm-Delorme for a one-timer shot that caught Ernst sliding too far. The shot toward the far post cut the Blazers’ lead in half.
Then, with two and a half minutes remaining in the period, the Winterhawks’ power play went to work. A one-timer shot from the point by Jack O’Brien would hit Fromm-Delorme up high in front of the net. However, Fromm-Delorme would get his stick on the puck on its way down and jab home a third goal for the Winterhawks.
The chaos of the second period wasn’t over though. With 46 seconds remaining in the period, Giannuzzi would make a great kick save that led to an odd-man rush. Kyle Chyzowski and Dawson Pasternak would combine on a give-and-go passing play to set up Chyzowski with a short-angle slap shot that would tie the game at 4-4.
For a moment in the third period, it looked like the Winterhawks were able to grab the lead. A shot off an offensive zone faceoff win was saved, but the high deflection would ricochet off a defenseman and into the back of the net. However, upon review, the officials confirmed that the puck was played by a high stick. There would be no goals in the third period, and overtime was held scoreless as well.
In the shootout, both James Stefan and Logan Stankoven would score in the opening round. Round two saw both teams failing to score, which left round three as the difference maker. Marcus Nguyen for Portland would take a wide-angle to his right. He then drifted back inside and quickly switched to a backhand shot that would lift over Ernst and score. Daylan Kuefler would attempt to tie the game once more for Kamloops. Kuefler came down the ice with speed on his attempt and made a last-second backhand shot. However, the left leg pad of Giannuzzi would shut down Kuefler’s shot, and Winterhawks would complete their comeback.
Portland’s next match is next Saturday, October 22nd, against the Tri-City Americans.