Lethbridge Hurricanes (18-34-4-3) vs. Portland Winterhawks (35-20-1-3)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes made a once every other year visit to Portland Saturday night to face the Winterhawks for the only meeting of the season and it was Portland that picked up a 5-2 win.
The Winterhawks scored two in the first, two in the second and added one in the third as their top line of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nic Petan and Paul Bittner combined for nine points and four of the ‘Hawks five goals.
The first period started great for the home side as Portland was buzzing early and scored an early goal just 59 seconds into the game as Keegan Iverson put home his 10th of the season passed Jayden Sittler. Midway through the first period, Portland added to their lead as Bittner tipped home a Bjorkstrand shot to make it 2-0. Just under four minutes later though, the ‘Canes cut the lead in half as Giorgio Estephan scored his 17th goal of the season on a power play at the 15:38 mark – Brayden Burke and Kord Pankewicz picked up the assists as the Winterhawks held 2-1 advantage after one period of play. Portland out shot Lethbridge 13-6 in the first.
Portland added a pair in the second period. First it was Bjorkstrand flipping one by Sittler 4:56 into the period; Nic Petan picked up the lone helper. Bittner scored his second of the game at the 12:29 mark to make it 4-1 after two. Portland out played Lethbridge in the second period out shooting them 14-3.
Early in the third period the Hurricanes had their chances to come close. Kade Jensen hit a goal post on a power play and then moments later Jamal Watson rang one off red metal. Late in the game the two teams traded goals, first it was a power play goal by Bjorkstrand making it 5-1 before Carter Amson found a rebound in the slot and buried his first ever WHL goal in what was his 67th game. The ‘Canes played much better in the third and out shot the Winterhawks 14-9.
Portland out shot Lethbridge 36-23 in the game. Hurricanes went 1/5 on the power play while the Winterhawks went 1/6.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Winterhawks – #7 Paul Bittner – (2 goals)
2) Winterhawks – #27 Oliver Bjorkstrand – (2 goals, 1 assist, including GWG)
3) Winterhawks – #19 Nic Petan – (4 assists)
The Hurricanes fall to 0-1-1-0 in the first two games of the US swing and are now 3-1-1-0 away from home in February. The ‘Canes will wrap up the tree game trip with a Sunday afternoon contest in Everett against the Silvertips.