Thursday, November 24, 2016

Winterhawks double up Oil Kings 4-2

The Edmonton Oil Kings came into Portland for their third game in five nights, while on their U.S. Division road trip. They were done in by Portland's potent combo of 17-year-old centers. Cody Glass scored twice and Ryan Hughes added another as Portland took down the visiting Oil Kings. Keegan Iverson added three assists in the win.

The Winterhawks opened the scoring in the first period on a lucky bounce. Skyler McKenzie made a nice drop pass in traffic, to free up Cody Glass on the left wing. The Winnipeg native swung a backhand shot that deflected off of the skate of Oil Kings' d-man Wyat McLeod and past goalie Patrick Dea. The Oil Kings showed a lot of jump in response to the goal, taking the play right at Portland and drawing five power plays in the first period. They converted on one of those when Lane Bauer pounced on the rebound of a Tyler Robertson shot, putting the puck past Portland goalie Cole Kehler. Despite being short handed so much, the Hawks got there chances in the opening session. The best one was converted as Glass put an impressive deflection on the point shot from Henri Jokiharju, beating Dea. Glass smartly used his body to shield Dea from the puck, before getting a backhand deflection on the shot and moving out of the way, all in one motion. This is probably one of the nice deflection goals you'll see in the WHL this year.

The second period was mostly owned by Portland as they were given three power plays of their own, including a five-on-three advantage. Although they didn't convert on those opportunities, they controlled play for much of the period, out shooting Edmonton 17-3. They finally were able to beat Dea and give themselves a two-goal lead late in the second. The goal was a little non-traditional as Ryan Hughes guided the rebound of a Bronson Sharp shot with his skate, past Dea and in. This play is legal this year, as long as it does not take place in the crease. 

Portland looked to put the game away early in the third period, as Keegan Iverson fired a perfect cross-ice pass to Keoni Texeira and the 19-year-old d-man punched it home. Instead of folding up and giving up, down 4-1, the Oil Kings played their best hockey of the night through the rest of the third period challenging Kehler often. They finally broke through when rookie Trey Fix-Wolansky sniped a shot upstairs with Portland's defense scrambling to cover. Kehler stood tall the rest of the way, giving the Hawks points in four straight games, with three of those games being wins.

Kehler turned aside 22 of 24 shots, earning his ninth win of the year. Patrick Dea was a lot busier, stopping 36 of 40 Portland shots. 

Portland went 0/5 on the power play, while Edmonton was 1/6. Portland's power play drops to sixth in the WHL at 24.3 percent.

Game Notes:
-Cody Glass nearly had the hat trick as he struck iron on a full-ice shot with Dea pulled and the net vacant.  With his two goals though he now has 35 points on the year. This is still good enough for third in the WHL and six points behind Regina's Sam Steel.
-Keegan Iverson quietly has 28 points this year. This has him tied for 16th in league scoring and just one behind Skyler McKenzie for second on the team.
-Caleb Jones had an assist and now has eight points in his last four games. This has him finally up in the top-ten in scoring among d-men.
-The lone remaining members of the teams that played in the 2014 WHL final are Portland's Keegan Iverson and Keoni Texeira and Edmonton's Tyler Robertson, Aaron Irving and Lane Bauer. 
-With Colton Veloso and Alex Overhardt and Colina all out (likely to injury), the Hawks brought Brett Clayton back up. He skated a regular shift and played pretty well.
-The player with the most notable increase in playing time was Bronson Sharp. He netted his first career WHL point on the Hughes goal and got to see some time on the penalty kill.
-Jake Gricius was in the lineup and so only ended up missing most of one game, due to the hit he received from Lethbridge's Tyler Wong. 
-The next game for Portland is the Daylight Classic, Friday vs. Victoria. 

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