The game basically fit the same format as 2 of 3 of the previous meetings, with Portland building an early lead and then relying on strong defense and a few great saves by Burke to pick up the victory.
Despite letting the Chief control a lot of the early play, the Hawks stood tall defensively and kept the swarming Chiefs, led by Adam Helewka from capitalizing on their chances. Then after Brendan Burke made several stellar stops, the Hawks were off and racing the other way, leading to Brendan Leipsic beating Chief's Goalie Garrett Hughson high on the glove side for a 1-0 led. This seemed to wake the Hawks up and they scored twice more in the period. Then after trading goals to make it 4-1, the Chiefs got back to back goals less than 3 minutes apart to make it a one goal game. Then, when it seemed the Chiefs would eventually tie the game up, Taylor Leier made a slick backhand pass from behind the net to Nic Petan and suddenly it was a 5-3 game. Spokane would get one more goal to make it close, but the Hawks again played great defense and picked up an empty netter to hand Spokane another defeat in the season series.
Garrett Hughson stopped 27 of 32, as he gave up 5 goals for the second straight time against Portland this season. Brendan Burke picked up his 16th win of the season, stopping 31of 35 shots.
Observations From the Game:
-Spokane out shot Portland in the game (35-33) and has now out shot them 3 times in a row. The frustration has got to be growing for the Chiefs players, as the Hawks were clearly out played for portions of the game, but the Chiefs failed to capitalize on their momentum.
-The frustration really boiled over late as Mike Avian and Riley Whittingham both lost their cool in separate instances during the last minute of play. Whittingham has been known to play on the edge, but rarely have I seen Aviani commit lose it. He threw a sucker bunch to the face of Alex Schoenborn after the whistle.
-This loss could be the most painful one for the Chiefs, as they were just starting to create some chances late in the game when Portland's Keegan Iverson went to check Spokane's Cole Wedman, who got his stick up in the face of Iverson to defend himself. Iverson was bloodied and Wedman received a double minor for high sticking, ending the Chief's chances at pulling the Goalie for the man advantage.
-This was the first game at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum for the Hawks this season, meaning that it was the first time that several Hawks (Ethan Price, Keoni Texeira, Garrett Haar, Anton Cederholm) got to play there.
-Derrick Pouliot, who prior to the last couple of weeks has not supplied as much offense as expected, nothced a goal in this one, giving him a goal in 4 straight games.
-Portland was 2/9 on the power play, while Spokane was 0/3.
-Pouliot also ended the night an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick, him and Mike Aviani dropped gloves to start the second period (Aviani completed one in the loss).
-Shaun MacPherson was scratched for the 4th time over 5 games, meaning either he is on the outs with the coaching staff or he is battling some injury we have not heard about. Either way, he has only gotten into 15 of the 25 games played this season.
-Tri City was out shot 46-19 and loss 4-1 at home to Kelowna and Seattle lost in Vancouver 6-3 to round out the U.S. Division scores. Seattle has now only won 2 of their last 10 games, as their skid continues.
#3- Brendan Leipsic- 2 goals and an assist for his second 3 point night in a row. He really seems to have turned it around and hopefully will be consistent as he seems to be the engine for the Hawks.
#2- Taylor Leier- 1 goal and 1 assist, but they were both beauties as he made an excellent pass to Petan for the eventual game winner and then made a great effort to notch the empty netter late. He seems like he could be Ty Rattie lite for the Hawks this season, as far as, setting up or scoring the big goals.
#1- Nic Petan- 1 goal and 3 assists for Petan as he gained 2 more points on Mitch Holmberg (2 assists in the game) and is now 7 points back for the WHL lead (59-52).