Winterhawks rally past Seattle
The Portland Winterhawks fell behind three times on Sunday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Three goals in the third period finally put them over the top in a 5-3 Western Hockey League victory in front of 6,122 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Joachim Blichfeld had two goals and an assist, and linemates Ryan Hughes and Alex Overhardt each scored once as Portland completed a sweep of three weekend games and beat Seattle for the second consecutive night.
Lane Gilliss also scored for the Hawks, and goalie Shane Farkas made 19 saves to win his third consecutive start and backstop the fifth win in a row for the Winterhawks.
Portland (35-18-1-3, 74 points) remains two points back of U.S. Division leader Everett. Seattle (27-20-6-2, 62 points) remains in the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Portland is 6-0-1-1 in eight games against Seattle this season.
The Thunderbirds led 3-2 after two periods. But, playing their fourth game in five nights, the Winterhawks rallied in the third period with a pair of opportunistic goals and an empty-netter.
Hughes tied the game 3-3 8:48 into the third period. Jake Gricius, who had two assists, skated into the zone and got the puck to Hughes, whose initial shot hit traffic and bounced free in front of Seattle goalie Dorrin Luding. Hughes was first to the loose puck and scored his 11th goal of the season.
The winning goal came on a similar play. Luding stopped a Blichfeld chance, but Overhardt pounced on the rebound and lifted it over the fallen goalie with a backhand to make it 4-3 at 13:02 of the third.
Blichfeld's second goal of the night, and 20th of the season, clinched the win with 20 seconds left. He won a race to the puck and put it into the empty net.
The Winterhawks, who had 11 shots on goal through the first 30 minutes, out-shot the Thunderbirds 17-4 in the final 20 minutes to finish with a 36-22 edge in shots.
"Tonight wasn't a pretty game. It was a weak game overall for both teams," Winterhawks VP/GM/coach Mike Johnston said. "Four games in five nights for us is really, really tough. You could see there was a lot of fatigue."
Seattle scored a late power-play goal to take the lead in each of the first two periods. Late in the second, Austin Strand's one-timer from the left-wing circle was deflected by Matthew Wedman in front, making the score 3-2 Thunderbirds entering the third period.
Gilliss poked home a rebound for his fourth goal of the season, tying the score 2-2. Gricius set up that goal, gaining possession at neutral ice and skating around the goal to attempt a wrap-around shot.
Gricius and Dennis Cholowski had two assists apiece for Portland.
Seattle led 2-1 after one period on goals from Dillon Hamaliuk and Turned Ottenbreit, the latter coming on a power play. Ottenbreit's shot through traffic from near the blue line found its way through traffic and past Farkas.
Blichfeld scored Portland's first-period goal on a shorthanded breakaway, tying the score 1-1 at 13:16 of the first period.
Portland is back at the coliseum on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game against the Vancouver Giants. They the Hawks get a rare week between games before a Feb. 21 home game against Kamloops.