Winterhawks score shootout win
Joachim Blichfeld scored two third-period goals and the shootout winner on Friday, lifting the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs in Western Hockey League action in front of 8,388 fans at Moda Center.
Goalie Cole Kehler stopped all three Spokane shooters for this third shootout win of the season — and second in seven days at Moda Center. He stopped all seven shooters in a win over Seattle on Saturday.
The result puts Portland 10 points up on Spokane in the Western Conference and U.S. Division standings. -- and within two points of third-place Tri-City in the division. The Winterhawks are 30-22-1-2 for 63 points from 55 games. The Chiefs are 22-23-6-3 for 53 points from 54 games.
The Hawks, who never led on Friday until the shootout ended, continue to hold the eighth-place spot in the Western Conference. The Chiefs are 10 points out of playoff position.
Blichfeld opened the shootout by scoring against Spokane's Dawson Weatherill. Weatherill, who finished with 46 saves, including three breakaway stops with the score tied at 4-4, stopped Caleb Jones and Ryan Hughes in the shootout.
But Kehler shut the door on Riley Woods, Hayden Ostir and Hudson Elynuik.
Spokane controlled the puck for much of the overtime, but Portland had two great chances denied by Weatherill, who made saves to deny an end-to-end rush by Jones and a one-on-one chance for Hughes. He also stopped Hughes on a breakaway in the final seconds of regulation.
Henri Jokiharju had a goal and two assists for the Winterhawks. Cody Glass scored a shorthanded goal, his 25th of the season.
At 7:51 of the third period, Blichfeld put home a rebound from a Jokiharju shot with Overhardt creating traffic.
Then, with 4:29 left, Blichfeld got just enough on a back-hand effort to poke home a cross-crease pass from Alex Overhardt, who controlled the rebound of a Jokiharju shot and sent the puck to Blichfeld on the open side for his 21st goal of the season.
Spokane led 4-2 at the end of two periods, outscoring Portland 2-1 in each of the first two frames.
In the second period, goals by Keanu Yamamoto and Jaret Anderson-Dolan sandwiched a goal by Jokiharju.
Jokiharju scored his seventh goal of the season on a blast from the top of the right circle to pull Portland within 3-2 at 5:04 of the second period. The play started with an Overhardt faceoff win. Jokiharju took a shot from the point that was saved by Weatherill, but the rebound to the top of the circle gave Jokiharju time and space to blast the puck through traffic.
Anderson-Dolan's goal 12:02 into the second period restored a two-goal lead for the Chiefs and sent Winterhawks starting goalie Shane Farkas to the bench in favor of Kehler.
The Chiefs' forecheck generated both second-period goals and helped limit Portland's opportunities to generate speed in transition.
Spokane led 2-1 at the end of one period.
Elynuik opened the scoring at 5:12, taking a stretch pass from Ostir with the Winterhawks on a partial line change and scoring from near the left faceoff dot.
Glass tied it at 15:06, outskating two Spokane players and chipping the puck over Weatherill for Portland's ninth shorthanded goal of the season. But the Chiefs converted just as that power-play expired, as Taylor Ross deflected a shot from Alex Mowbray past Farkas.
Kehler finished with saves on all 17 shots he faced, not counting the three shootout stops.
Portland travels to Kent, Washington, for a 7 p.m. Saturday game against Seattle that will be televised by CW32 (3).