Cody Glass leads Winterhawks past Kamloops
Cody Glass had four points in the first 10 minutes Tuesday, but it was his fifth point that sealed the deal for the Portland Winterhawks in a 6-4 Western Hockey League win over the Kamloops Blazers at Moda Center.
Glass scored a power-play goal with 2:19 left for important breathing room after Kamloops had erased most of a 5-0 Portland lead.
The win improved the Winterhawks to 23-21-1-2. Their 49 points have them one-point ahead of ninth-place Spokane, which has played one more game than Portland. Kamloops, third in the conference, fell to 29-17-1-2.
Glass had assists on goals by Joachim Blichfeld, Skyler McKenzie and Evan Weinger in the first 4:45 of the game. Glass scored Portland's fourth goal 9:41 into the game.
"It's kind of funny. I went into warmup today and felt a bit slow, wasn't really focused that much. But once we got to the first (period) my line really clicked right from the start," Glass said.
Ryan Hughes got in on the fun, scoring at the end of an odd-man rush 23 seconds into the second period to make it 5-0 for Portland.
Second-period goals from Luc Smith and from Garrett Pilon got the Blazers within three entering the third.
Rudolfs Balcers then made the crowd of 5,674 squirm a bit with two third-period goals to pull the Blazers' within 5-4. First, Balcers redirected a wrist shot from Pilon past Portland goalie Shane Farkas. Balcers struck again 3:16 later from the low left circle, and the Blazers had momentum and more than six minutes to play.
"There was a little frustration with them coming back. We calmed down on the bench, took a couple breaths," Glass said.
Glass took the wind out of the Kamloops rally when he scored his second goal. A pass from Blichfeld found glass in front of goalie Dylan Ferguson. A slight move sent the goalie one way, and Glass calmly moved the other way to deposit the goal in the net.
Glass has 23 goals and 41 assists in his second WHL season. His play has been noticed as last week he was listed as the eighth-best draft eligible skater in the NHL Central Scouting midseason ratings.
"I think that's just a huge honor. It's a step forward for me. I use it as motivation," Glass said, noting he was only an honorable mention on the preseason list.
McKenzie's goal, a tap-in of a perfect pass from Glass off a rush started by Caleb Jones, gives him 30 on the season.
Blichfeld has goals in three consecutive games and six points over the last six games, helping to contribute in the absence of team captain Keegan Iverson.
Iverson is expected to be out several more weeks with a lower body injury.
Rookie goalie Farkas made his second WHL start on Tuesday and finished with 39 saves on 43 shots for his first career win.
Portland is back on the road for games Friday at Everett and Saturday in Kelowna. Glass and defenseman Henri Jokiharju on Monday will participate in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City.
Glass said he looks forward to playing with and against other top junior hockey players and will try not to be too nervous.
"When you think about," he said, "it's just another hockey game you get to go play."