Winterhawks get dramatic win at Kelowna
Joachim Blichfeld scored with 3.8 seconds left on Saturday to give the Portland Winterhawks a 5-4 win over the Kelowna Rockets.
Portland rallied from a 4-1 deficit to earn the Western Hockey League win at Prospera Place in Kelwona.
Blichfeld tipped home the winner off a shot from the left point by Brendan De Jong.
That goal capped an unlikely comeback for the Hawks, who were playing without Cody Glass, Henri Jokiharju and Keegan Iverson and trailed by three early in the second period.
Blichfeld also had two assists. Colton Veloso, Skyler McKenzie, Ryan Hughes and Jake Gricius also scored for the Winterhawks. McKenzie also had two assists.
The win improved Portland to 25-21-1-2 for 53 points from 49 games. The Winterhawks are eighth in the Western Conference, but are five points ahead of ninth-place Spokane with a game in hand on the Chiefs.
Kelowna is 27-19-4-0 for 58 points from 50 games, sixth in the conference.
Rookie Shane Farkas made 31 saves to earn the win in goal for the Winterhawks. Portland was 2 for 6 on the power play and Kelowna 1 for 5, with the Winterhawks killing a Blichfeld penalty late in the third period with the score tied.
The Kelowna lead was 4-3 entering the third period.
With 7:09 left, rookie Gricius forced a turnover and tied the score after his initial shot was blocked. The unassisted goal was a result of some strong forecheck work from Bronson Sharp, Brad Ginnell and Gricius.
After falling behind 4-1 early in the second period, goals 51 seconds apart from McKenzie and Hughes pulled Portland within 4-3 entering the third period.
McKenzie scored the Hawks' second power-play goal of the game at 8:34 of the second period off assists from Blichfeld and Caleb Jones. Hughes then converted off an Evan Weinger assist at 9:25.
The teams exchanged early power-play goals, with Colton Veloso answering for the Winterhawks at 3:58 of the first period after the Rockets' Nick Merkley opened the scoring at 2:53 of the first period.
Three consecutive Kelowna goals made it 4-1 Rockets. Gordie Ballhorn and Kyle Topping scored to make it 3-1 at the end of one, and Reid Gardiner scored 4:19 into the second.
Glass and Jokiharju traveled to Quebec City, where they will play on opposite teams in Monday's NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game.
The game features 40 of the top players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft. Jokiharju will play for Team Cherry, Glass for Team Orr (4 p.m., NHL Network).
Iverson remains out with a lower-body injury.
The Winterhawks are home for three games next week. They play host to Everett on Tuesday, play host to Kamloops Wednesday, visit Everett on Friday and play host to Seattle next Saturday.