Portland Winterhawks Win 8-7 in Explosive Duel Against Spokane Chiefs

Photo Credit: Portland Winterhawks

The Portland Winterhawks won in a wild shootout over the Spokane Chiefs Sunday night 8-7. Coming into the game, Portland had not scored more than 6 goals in any single game this season. They also had not allowed more than 7 goals against in a game this season. However, Portland would come away with another home victory. Also notable, Gabe Klassen and Jack O’Brien would earn two of the three stars of the game.

Portland hit the ground running in the first period. Just 2:52 into the first period, Jack O’Brien would rifle a shot toward the far post, and score the first goal of the game on the powerplay. A few minutes later, Ryan McCleary would tap in a goal on an odd-man rush. Thanks to a brilliant floater pass from James Stefan.

Penalties continued to plague Spokane in the first period. Approaching the halfway mark of the first period, Luca Cagnoni scored on the power play with an uncontested shot from the point. Then with 6:32 left in the first, the Winterhawks would score on the power play again, this time off an entry zone passing play that left Jack O’Brien alone on the doorstep.

After four unanswered goals, the Chiefs would find an answer late in the period. Raegan Wiles would score off a deflection that would knuckleball past Winterhawks goaltender Dante Giannuzzi. Through the first twenty minutes of action, Portland would lead 4-1 over Spokane.

The second period saw Spokane bouncing back. Blake Swetlikoff would score on a 2-2 shorthanded rush to cut the Winterhawks lead in half. The Chiefs’ powerplay then found an opportunity to strike at 4:14 into the second period. Ty Cheveldayoff would pounce on a rebound and score to put Spokane within one goal of Portland.

The Winterhawks would, however, be able to stop the bleeding thanks to the efforts of the penalty kill. Gabe Klassen would find space while shorthanded and rip one high past Chiefs goaltender Cooper Michaluk. Despite the goal against, Spokane’s powerplay was not to be denied. Raegan Wiles would score his second of the game on the powerplay, with a wrist shot that beat Giannuzzi’s glove side.

The Chiefs would find an equalizer with roughly five minutes remaining in the second period. Carter Streek would score thanks to the Chiefs’ forecheck creating a turnover behind the net. However, it would be short-lived. Portland would score on the power play thanks to a strange deflection that slowly ricocheted off Robbie Fromm-Delorme’s skate.

Just when you thought the action for the second period would be done, Spokane would find a way to tie the game again. This time, a shot would be blocked by a defenseman in front of Giannuzzi. However, they would have their pockets picked by Ty Cheveldayoff. Cheveldayoff would quickly turn and wrist a shot past Giannuzzi, and the game would head into the third period tied at 6-6.

There were only two goals in the third period. The first came early in the period for the Winterhawks. After gaining puck control in the corner, Robbie Fromm-Delorme would sneak behind the defense and wrap all the way around the crease to score and give Portland the 7-6 lead. The second goal of the period was a desperate effort from Spokane late in the period. With 35 seconds remaining, Chase Bertholet would throw a puck from the corner toward the front of the net. After a few deflections, the puck would eventually go in off the stick of a Winterhawk defender. Ty Cheveldayoff would get credit for the goal, and the match would head into overtime.

Both goalies would make clutch stops in the overtime period. However, with no goals in the overtime period, the game would need a shootout to decide the victor. Carter Streek and Gabe Klassen would miss on their team’s opening shots. In the second round, Chase Bertholet would be denied by Giannuzzi, and Marcus Nguyen would score to give the Winterhawks the advantage. The third round saw Raegan Wiles scoring for Spokane, which meant the game was on the stick of Luca Cagnoni. Cagnoni would start with speed to his left. A stick move would get Michaluk moving right to left. Across the face of the goaltender, Cagnoni would raise a backhand shot glove side, and score to give the Winterhawks the 8-7 win.

The Winterhawks will hit the road for a double dip of games in Victoria against the Royals this weekend with the first game set for Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.