Thursday, December 15, 2016

Royals too much for Winterhawks in 5-1 win

First periods have been good to the Portland Winterhawks this year. They are among he league leaders in goals in the opening session with 129. Tuesday night in Victoria, though the Hawks were outscored 3-0 and could not muster enough of a comeback to overcome this margin in a 5-1 loss to the Victoria Royals. The Royals were led by two goals and an assist by Ryan Peckford and three assists by Matthew Phillips.

Regan Nagy helped get things started by corralling a loose puck behind the Portland net and swiftly gettign the puck to Jack Walker in front. The overage forward banged away at it and got it under the pad of Portland goalie Cole Kehler. Just 1:16 later the speed of Matthew Phillips doubled Victoria's lead. He burst past Portland d-man Brendan De Jong and found linemate Ryan Peckford in the low slot. Peckford couldn't get a good shot on initially but found the puck in De Jong's skates before the blue liner could and beat Kehler. The Royals added another first period goal and it was scored the way Carter Folk usually scores his goals. The overage grinder wouldn't be tied up by Colton Veloso or found by De Jong and poked home a puck that Jared Dmytriw got on net. The goal was just Folk's second of the season.

Portland cut into the Victoria lead while on the power play 12:33 into the second period. Skyler McKenzie fired a cross-ice pass right onto the tape of Joachim Blichfeld and the Danish forward sniped a shot over Victoria goalie Griffen Outhouse's shoulder. The Royals got that one right back though as Matthew Phillips got the puck to Dane Hannoun in front just five seconds into the power play and the speedy Hannoun potted his 13th of the year.

Portland would push back in the third period, but another goal from Ryan Peckford would help put the game out of reach and stellar netminding from Griffen Outhouse would keep them from making it a closer game. A stand out glove save with just under five minutes left in the game on a one-timer from Skyler McKenzie was one such example.

Outhouse was solid in this game, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Kehler was handed his first loss in four outings. He turned away 29 of the 34 shots he faced.

Portland went 1-2 on the power play, while Victoria went 2-8.

Game Notes:
-When the Hawks lose it certainly seems like a large penalty differential is always a primary issue. Hats off to Matthew Phillips who drew two different power pays. He drew a third penalty, but was also whistled for embellishment.
-In the last two games with the Royals, Phillips has been the most outstanding skater out there. After a slow start to the season, he has 19 points in his last 10 games.
-Ryan Hughes was scratched with an upper-body injury. This is the first game he has missed this year.
-Blichfeld now has a six-game point streak, while Caleb Jones has a seven-game one.
-Keegan Iverson took a double-minor for spearing in the second period. Portland's captain just cannot lose his cool like that. His team is at it's best when he is on the ice, not in the box for a after-the-whistle penalty.
-Brendan De Jong has had an amazing season, but was not at his best in this game. He was on the ice for Victoria's first three goals and had chances to block or break up the plays that led to the markers.
-Portland and Victoria get back at it Wednesday night. Same place, same time.

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