Portland gutted out a point on Wednesday night in a shootout loss to the Prince George Cougars. Despite losing again in the shootout Friday night in Kamloops, the Hawks likely felt like the extra point had been stolen from them. The guy who stole that point wears number 39 and was in net for the Blazers. Portland fell behind 2-0 after the first period but the ice tilted the other way for most of the rest of the game. After tying the game in the third period, the Winterhawks put immense pressure on Ingram and the Blazers but the Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick was impressive. His play at times was a little unorthodox, but he made the plays necessary to get his team into a skills competition for the win. Ingram's best saves were a sliding toe save on an Evan Weinger breakaway and a nice positional save on Skyler McKenzie in overtime. Both players broke free and had prime chances to score the winning goal if not for Ingram. The best save of the night thought did not belong to Ingram but rather to Anaheim Ducks' prospect Deven Sideroff. The forward laid down at the buzzer and turned away Hughes who had a wide open net to shoot at. Kamloops was led by two points from Garrett Pilon and Dallas Valentine. Cody Glass came back to the lineup and notched two assists in the loss.The Hawks earn a point, but fall to Kamloops 4-3 in the Shootout. The game at a glance is presented by @Toyota. pic.twitter.com/3yJmcErAxh— Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks) January 21, 2017
Portland's opponent once again scored early into a period in the first on Friday. Just 1:21 into the game Cole Kehler gave up a super juicy rebound on a Luke Zazula shot and Pilon buried it. The halfway through the period Valentine drove right past Portland defender Henri Jokiharju, getting a shot in on Kehler that created a rebound for Nic Holowko. The former Seattle Thunderbird backhanded a shot into the vacant net for the 2-0 lead.
Portland came out inspired in the second period and 6:48 in cut into the lead. Skyler McKenzie used his speed to get around Valentine and get a pass back door for Evan Weinger. The forward could not get a shot through but in the ensuing melee Keoni Texeira lifted a shot past a screened Ingram for his ninth goal of the year. The Winterhawks tied the game just 1:34 later as McKenzie pulled back a turnover in full stride on the power play and the puck ended up working its way over to Cody Glass. Portland's leading scorer then fed a cross-ice pass to Joachim Blichfeld and the Danish import buried it. The tie was short-lived though as Kamloops immediately burst down the ice on a three-on-three and Pilon fed Rudolfs Balcers back door for the goal. Portland's Jake Gricius was getting back for the back check.
The Blazers entered the third period with a one-goal lead confident in the fact that Portland had yet to win a game this year after trailing following the second period. That confidence was shaken though as Alex Overhardt won aboard battle at center ice and Colton Veloso busted in on a two-on-one with Ryan Hughes. Veloso fired a wrist shot past Ingram's glove for the all-important tying goal. The Hawks sustained pressure on Kamloops later in the period but had to dodge a few bullets of their own as both teams kept a fast pace going.
After both teams failed to convert on some prime chances in the overtime session including the one by Hughes as time expired, the squads got set to face off in the shootout. It went all the way to the fourth round before Lane Bauer buried his chance to win it. Cody Glass, Caleb Jone, Ryan Hughes and Skyler McKenzie were al turned away by Ingram.
Ingram stopped 33 of 36 shots while Kehler turned away 30 of 33.
Kamloops was 0/5 on the power play while Portland was 1/5.
-Portland had no back up goalie as Shane Farkas became the latest Hawk to get sick sick. They used BCMML Thompson Blazer goalie Ethan Langenegger as their emergency back up.
-Caleb Jones was destroyed in the first period by a hit from Joe Gatenby at the Kamloops blue line. Colton Veloso took exception to the hit and instigated a fight. Surprisingly he was called for an extra two minutes but it was not an instigator call. Instead he received an "unsportsmanlike conduct" call.
-Kamloops has not received a whole lot of offensive help from their new arrivals so they likely were overjoyed that Lane Bauer got the shootout winner. Bauer has yet to score a goal with Kamloops while Luc Smith has just one goal.
-Smith received the odd penalty for an equipment issue as he was playing without a chin strap on.
-Glass is tied for eighth in WHL scoring with 59 points in 44 games. He was recently ranked eighth among North American skaters for the NHL draft by NHL Central Scouting.
-Five game point streak for Overhardt and Skyler McKenzie.
-Portland is now up four points on Spokane for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They both have 27 games to play.
-Next up for Portland is a tilt in Kelowna vs. the Rockets on Saturday night.