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Blazers beat Portland 5-2 as Don Hay ties Ken Hodge for most career coaching wins in WHL history

Kamloops goalie Dylan Ferguson made 30 saves Friday and the Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks 5-2 in Western Hockey League action.

With the win, Kamloops coach Don Hay tied former Winterhawks coach Ken Hodge with his 742nd WHL victory, the most coaching wins in league history.

Jermaine Loewen scored twice, including an empty-netter to seal the Kamloops win.

Skyler McKenzie and Jake Gricius scored Portland's goals, both on power plays. Portland finished 2 for 5 against one of the better penalty killing teams in the league.

Portland remains second in the U.S. Division at 28-16-1-3 for 60 points. It was the first road loss since Jan. 5 and just the sixth regulation loss away from Portland.

Kamloops is 22-33-1-2 for 47 points, ninth in the Western Conference, but has won four consecutive games.

The Hawks were again without top-line forwards Cody Glass and Kieffer Bellows, who are listed as week to week with injuries.

Portland had a lot of offensive zone possession for significant stretches of the game, but Ferguson made several difficult stops and the Blazers were sound defensively in front of their goal.

Connor Zary put Kamloops up 1-0 on an early power play. Two minutes later, McKenzie scored his 36th goal of the season, redirecting a pass from Dennis Cholowski into the net.

The Hawks controlled the first 10 minutes of the second period but didn't score. Instead, Justin Sigrist and Loewen scored 1:40 apart to make the score 3-1 Blazers.

Gricius scored his 10th goal of the season 4:12 into the third period to get Portland to within 3-2.

After a surprising icing call, one the Winterhawks disagreed with, Kamloops won an offensive zone faceoff that led to Quinn Benjafield's goal with 5:40 remaining and make the score 4-2.

Friday's game was the first of three in three days between the Blazers and Winterhawks. They meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Kamloops, then make the eight-hour trip to Portland for a 5 p.m. Sunday clash at Moda Center.

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