Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cole Kehler regains form in Portland's 4-1 win in Everett

1997-born goalie Cole Kehler had been one of the stories of the 2016 side of the 2016-17 season. He was acquired for a seventh-round pick during the summer and won the starting job over fellow 19-year-old Michael Bullion. Recently though Kehler has struggled with consistency and this had led to the Hawks losing nine of his previous 11 starts. Friday night in Everett though Kehler was the story, stopping 46 of 47 shots and leading his team to a big 4-1 win over the U.S. Division leading Everett Silvertips. The Hawks got a point from 10 different skaters in the win.

While on the penalty kill, Portland took the 1-0 lead, Patrick Bajkov and Kevin Davis got tangled up on the Portland blue line and Alex Overhardt skated onto the puck for a breakaway. He beat Carter Hart on the blocker side for his ninth goal of the year.

The Winterhawks doubled heir lead in the second period off the stick of another 19-year-old forward Evan Weinger. Cody Glass was by the Portland net in traffic and still somehow found a way to outlet the puck in space for the speedy Weinger. He flew in on Hart before stomping on the brakes and tucking in a backhand. The Silvertips started creating traffic in tight on Kehler and found gold by doing this. A Patrick Bajkov shot created a rebound and Dominic Zwerger was able to corral the bouncing puck and put it past Kehler.

With the game getting tight the Hawks got a pivotal goal from 16-year-old rookie Brad Ginnell. Koni Texeira got a shot on net and Colton Veloso was first to getting it over to the right side for Jake Gricius and Brad Ginnell. He poked it in for his fourth goal of the year. Ryan Hughes was able to ice the game for the Hawks with an empty net goal with seven seconds left.

Portland went 0/3 while Everett was 0/7.

Game Notes:
-Great momentum on an early shift from the Cody Glass line and timely pinches by Jones and De Jong was done in by a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. The top line with Evan Weinger now playing in the spot for Keegan Iverson has found its stride.
-Colton Kroeker scored the eventual game-winner 9:28 into the third period and Kootenay edged Spokane in Cranbrook 3-2. Portland now has a three point cushion for the second wild card spot with one game in hand.

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