Monday, January 16, 2017

Chiefs get revenge in crazy 6-5 win over the Winterhawks

On Friday night, Portland stormed out to a 5-1 lead, before holding on for a 5-4 win. On Saturday night it was the Chiefs who go the big league before holding on. They were up 4-1 in the second period and ended up with a big 6-5 win. Just like the previous night, a team took advantage of an older goalie struggling to obtain that lead. Keanu Yamamoto and Jaret Anderson-Dolan each had two goals for the Chiefs, while Portland was led by two points each from Joachim Blichfeld, Skyler McKenzie, Alex Overhardt and Cody Glass. Keegan Iverson was missing from the lineup as he left Friday's game vs. Spokane with an unknown injury.

On Spokane's first shot of the game, Kehler appeared to not be ready and it fluttered past his blocker softly. It was Woods's second goal of the game and paved the way for a three-point night for the former Regina Pat. Portland responded just 31 seconds later as Blichfeld filled in well for Iverson on the top line with McKenzie and Glass. McKenzie set himself up in the slot and Glass find him with a nice pass. Spokane would again score a soft goal on Kehler though and Portland would play catch up until midway through the second period. The Chiefs scored two goals in 54 seconds midway through the first to end Kehlers night early. First on a two-on-two rush, Jaret Anderson-Dolan fired a shot past Kehler from the right wing. This was Spokane's second goal on only their second shot. Then after Eli Zummack won a face off in the Portland zone, Keanu Yamamoto blew a shot past Kehler for the 3-1 lead. Shane Farkas made his WHL debut in relief of Kehler as Portland's starter stopped two of the five shots he faced.

Spokane then extended their lead to four as a Hudson Eynuik fired a shot that Eli Zummack tipped past Farkas on the power play. The Hawks responded with a power play goal of their own just 1:25 later. The second power play unit again paid dividends as a Henri Jokiharju point shot was deflected past Spokane goalie Dawson Weatherhill by Alex Overhardt. While they were still announcing the first Portland goal, the Hawks scored another. Ryan Hughes broke through the Chiefs' defense and dropped a pass off to Evan Weinger on the left wing. The puck worked it's way to Ryan Hughes who banked a shot off of Weatherhill's back and in. Weatherhill had been expecting a pass to Brendan De Jong in front, not a bad angle shot from Hughes. The Portland goals closed the game to 4-3 and were only 37 seconds apart. Portland tied the game 2:13 later on a goal that symbolized what kind of player Colton Veloso is. He was tripped up by a Spokane d-man and went face-first into the boards. The puck then got around the right half-boards, where Skyler McKenzie forced a turnover, got into the slot and backhanded a shot past Weatherhill. Veloso often sacrifices his body for the team and his team obviously appreciates it. Instead of celebrating the goal, McKenzie went straight to Veloso's aide. The 19-year-old winger did not miss a shift in the game. Spokane retook the lead on another miscommunication between Henri Jokiharju and Caleb Jones. The latter d-man backhanded a pass that hit the net and sat there for Keanu Yamamoto to poke past Farkas.

The Chiefs extended their lead to two in the third period off a great shot from Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Blichfeld mistimed an interception of a pass through the neutral zone and Anderson-Dolan broke in on a two-on-one rush. He wired a shot past Farkas and gave Spokane a 6-4 lead. Portland had many great chances in the third period, especially Skyler McKenzie, who hit a past, the side of the net and was stoned by Weatehrhill on three great looks in the period. Portland cut the lead to one as Jokiharju made a great play to keep the puck in the zone, while Farkas was pulled for an extra-attacker and Glass completed a give-and-go with Alex Overhardt for his 21st goal of the year. Portland continued to put pressure on in the remaining 1:24, but Weatherhill made all the stops he needed to.

Weatherhill turned away 38 of the 43 shots he saw. Over his two appearances on the weekend, he stopped 48 of 53 total shots. Shane Farkas was solid in his first WHL action, stopping 17 of 20 shots in relief. His best stop of the game was on Anderson-Dolan who got alone in front.

Game Notes:
-It was a much needed win for the Chiefs as they puled within two points of Portland for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Portland has played three fewer games than Spokane though.
-Elsewhere in the U.S. Division, both Tri-City and Seattle are on win streaks and are starting to pull away from Portland.
-Keanu Yamamoto got a little too fired up over an interference call on Ondrej Najman in the first period and was handed a 10-minute misconduct.
-Caleb Jones had his point-streak end at nine games.
-Portland went just 1-for-7 on the power play. They have two power play goals from the second unit over the last two games and one on a four-on-three PP with a second unit guy there. They have none from their first unit five-on-four unit over these two games.
-Anderson-Dolan was all over the ice for Spokane and was, at times, dominant. It will be interesting to see him grow into an elite player in the WHL over the next couple of years.

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