Winterhawks beat Kamloops
Jake Gricius, Henri Jokiharju and Keoni Texeira each had a goal and an assist on Sunday as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Kamloops Blazers 4-2 in Western Hockey League play in front of 7,818 fans at Moda Center.
The victory gave Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston 300 career WHL wins. It also prevented the Blazers from sweeping three weekend games from the Hawks.
Portland is 29-17-1-3 for 62 points, second in the U.S. Division. Kamloops is 23-24-1-2 for 49 points, fourth in the B.C. Division and ninth in the Western Conference.
Winterhawks' goalie Cole Kehler made 33 saves, including a late one with the Blazers skating with an extra attacker moments before Mason Mannek put the puck into an empty net with 17 seconds remaining.
Portland led 3-0 after Texeira scored 3:28 into the third period. Seth Jarvis, a 15-year-old rookie in his 11th WHL game, took a hit while entering the zone. He was able to drop the puck to Jokiharju, who found Texeira with a cross-ice pass.
A major penalty against Portland's Joachim Blichfeld for a cross check to the face of Kamloops defenseman Nolan Kneen gave the Blazers life. On the five-minute power play, Luc Smith and Quinn Benjafield deflected shots past Kehler to cut the margin to 3-2 with 11:29 remaining in the game.
In the second period, the Winterhawks scored two power-play goals and later killed a five-on-three Kamloops advantage.
Jokiharju scored 4:46 into the second to make it 1-0. After Gricius won a possession battle, a cross-ice pass from Blichfeld found Jokiharju. Jokiharju's hard shot from the right point beat goalie Max Palaga, who was partially screened by Gricius.
On the next Portland power play, Gricius scored with a wrist shot from the right-wing circle off a cross-crease pass from Brendan De Jong.
Late in the second period, Kamloops had 1:57 of five-on-three power-play time with Lane Gilliss (high sticking) and Dennis Cholowski (delay of game) in the penalty box. Kehler made two saves as the Winterhawks got the kill.
The Winterhawks on Wednesday play host to first-place Everett at 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum. They then play at Tri-City on Friday before playing host to the Americans at 6 p.m. Saturday at Moda Center.
• Jarvis is with the Hawks on a fill-in basis with forwards Cody Glass and Kieffer Bellows injured. The assist was his second of the season
• Mannek's empty-net goal, assisted by Skyler McKenzie, was the rookie's eighth goal of the season.
• Sue Johnson honored — Before Sunday's game, the WHL honored longtime Winterhawks education advisor Sue Johnson with a WHL Distinguished Service Award.
Johnson has served as an academic advisor to Winterhawks players for more than two decades. She worked with Winterhawks players as a guidance counselor at Milwaukie High and was hired in 2010 as the club's education advisor.
WHL Commissioner Ron Robison recognized Johnson during a pregame ceremony. Introduced in 2004, the Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to honor one person in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference who has worked behind the scenes.
With Johnson overseeing academics, every Winterhawks high school aged player has graduated.
• Sunday's game was the 1,500th home game in Winterhawks history.