Winterhawks rally for OT win
The Portland Winterhawks earned perhaps their biggest win of the season on Friday at Kennewick, Washington. Certainly, their 3-2 win over the Tri-City Americans was a gutty performance.
Skyler McKenzie's overtime goal produced the win for the short-handed Hawks, who finished the game without Cody Glass and didn't have team captain Keoni Texeira available.
Ty Kolle and Mason Mannek scored tying goals during the third period for Portland. A goal from Mannek with a minute left sent the game to overtime and Shane Farkas was big in goal throughout the contest for Portland.
Just 2-8 in their last 10 games, the Winterhawks (22-12-0-1, 45 points) remain second in the U.S. Division. They pulled within one point of Everett, which lost on Friday and has played three more games than Portland.
Tri-City (19-11-4-0, 42 points) could have passed Portland with a regulation win on Friday.
The winning goal in the three-on-three overtime came after the Americans turned over the puck in neutral ice. McKenzie and Ryan Hughes skated into the zone two-on-one and Hughes fed McKenzie for a tap-in finish for the winner.
Farkas finished with 39 saves, many of them on high-quality scoring chances for the Americans — including a great chance in overtime for Dylan Coghlan. Farkas (4-4 on the season) also denied a penalty shot chance for Morgan Geekie late in the second period.
Mannek's fith goal of the season came with Farkas on the bench for an extra attacker when he re-directed a shot from Conor MacEachern past Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea.
The game was scoreless through two periods. In the final seconds of the second period, Glass crumpled to the ice after appearing to take a slash to the right foot as Tri-City's Coghlan tried to whack at a loose puck. Glass needed help getting to the bench. He did not return to the game.
Reports indicated he had a brace on his right knee after the game. Glass was returning to Portland to be evaluated but had not been ruled out of the weekend games.
Texeira did not dress for the game because of a lower-body injury. Rookie defenseman Nick Cicek was called up and played in his second WHL game, and Brendan De Jong, MacEachern, Matthew Quigley and rookie John Ludvig played big minutes on defense for Portland.
The Winterhawks are without three players during the World Juniors Championships. Kieffer Bellows — who scored a power-play goal and a shootout winner for Team USA in Friday's outdoor game in Buffalo, a 4-3 win over Canada for the United States — Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark) and Henri Jokiharju (Finland).
Parker AuCoin put Tri-City ahead 1-0 by cashing in a Winterhawks turnover 1:36 into the third period.
Kolle tied it 1-1 at 8:24 of the third on a similar play as Alex Overhardt forced an Tri-City giveaway near the goal and Kolle pounced on the loose puck for his fourth goal of the season.
Tri-City went up 2-1 on Jordan Topping's 17th goal of the season with 6:02 left in the game, a rebound finish with the Americans on a power play.
But Mannek's deflection for his fifth goal of the season and McKenzie's 24th of the season 2:45 into the overtime turned the game for the Hawks. It was the second overtime winner of the season for Mckenzie.
Portland plays Seattle the next two nights, with both games televised on KRCW (channel 32, cable channel 3). Saturday's game at Kent, Washington, is at 6 p.m. Sunday's New Year's Eve game at Moda Center starts at 7 p.m.