Portland Winterhawks Stumble in 3-1 Loss to Vancouver Giants

Photo Credit: Matthew Wolfe

The Portland Winterhawks lost 3-1 to the Vancouver Giants Sunday afternoon. This is the first time this season that the Winterhawks have dropped back-to-back games in regulation. In the two losses this Thanksgiving weekend, Portland has been outscored 9-2. This was the first time Giants and the Winterhawks had played this season. They will meet three more times this regular season, two of which will be played in Portland.

Both the Winterhawks and the Giants looked to bounce back from losses on Friday headed into Sunday’s duel. The Winterhawks got off to a hot start thanks to their power-play unit. The Winterhawks had a handful of quality chances that were denied by Vancouver goaltender Jesper Vikman. However, in the next sequence, the Winterhawks would strike. With roughly 30 seconds remaining in the power-play, Ryan McCleary would walk down from the high point, and send a wrist shot toward the net. With multiple bodies screening the shot, the puck would zip past the glove of Vikman, and the power play would put Portland up 1-0.

In the second period, Vancouver would find their window back into the game. The Winterhawks were once again on the power play. With 40 seconds remaining in the man-up advantage, the puck found its way behind the Winterhawks’ net. Then, a miscue in the exchange between Marek Alscher and Dante Giannuzzi left the puck free for Ty Thorpe to steal. Thorpe quickly wrapped around the net and banked the puck off the skate of Giannuzzi to tie the game at 1-1.

In the third period, the Giants got exactly the start they were looking for. Portland started the period on the power play and had some early time on attack. However, thirty seconds into the period, Vancouver would clear the puck out of the zone. Luca Cagnoni would skate back to retrieve the puck around their defensive blue line. However, Cagnoni would lose his footing attempting to escape the pressure from Samuel Honzek. Honzek would be able to steal the puck and was left one on one with Giannuzzi. Honzek’s backhand shot would slide past the right leg of Giannuzzi, and give Vancouver a 2-1 lead.

After that goal, Vancouver refused to take their foot off the gas. With just over 15 minutes remaining in regulation, the Giants held possession in their offensive zone. Honzek would pass across the ice to Damian Palmieri. Palmieri took a moment to gain control of the puck, then sent it around the boards behind the net. From there, Ty Thorpe would corral the puck, and look for a wraparound chance. Thorpe’s shot would deflect off Giannuzzi’s right leg pad, but would still carry into the net, making the score 3-1 Giants. Vancouver would outshoot Portland 17-9 in the third period, and the Winterhawks would be unable to mount a comeback.

Portland’s next game is Wednesday against the Seattle Thunderbirds with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.