FRIDAY WHL RECAP/Chiefs beat shorthanded Hawks 9-3 in Spokane, putting 50 shots on goal

The Portland Winterhawks did not have an answer for the Spokane Chiefs on Friday.

Spokane took charge from the start and beat visiting Portland 9-3 in a Western Hockey League game. The Chiefs' nine goals and 50 shots were both season highs for a Winterhawks' opponent.

Portland — without three top players because of the World Juniors Championships and missing two more with injuries — could not match Spokane's energy.

The Hawks are 22-13-1-2 (47 points). The Chiefs improved to 21-15-1-2 (45 points.

Jakle Gricius, Cody Glass, and Skyler McKenzie scored for Portland.

The Chiefs set the tone from the start, building a 3-0 lead in a dominating first period that saw Spokane outshoot Portland 23-5 on its way to a 50-19 shots advantage for the game.

The game was summed up when Portland scored a rare goal for its opponent. On a delayed Spokane penalty in the third period a Portland pass went all the way to the other end and into the net that Cole Kehler vacated for the extra skater.

Kehler made 41 saves on a busy night in goal. Spokane converted on three of four power plays, while Portland was 0 for 2.

The Hawks pulled within 3-1 on a Jake Gricius goal 4:26 into the second period and within 4-2 on a Cody Glass goal at 11:23.

But the Chiefs added goals by Jake McGrew into an open net of a deflected shot from the point and by Hudson Elynuik after a nice move into the slot to lead 6-2 after 40 minutes.

Elynuik, who got credit for the goal Portland put into its own net, had two goals and one assist for the Chiefs. Jaret Anderson-Dolan had two Spokane goals.

The Hawks had eight rookies among the 18 skaters in the lineup, including 15-year-old winger Jaydon Dureau in his second WHL game. Portland captain Keoni Texeira (lower body) and forward Lane Gilliss missed the game with injuries.

Also missing because of the World Juniors Championships are Kieffer Bellows, Henri Jokiharju and Joachim Blichfeld are still missing.

Bellows on Friday capped his World Juniors tournament with two goals to finish with nine in seven games — a new tournament record for an American player. Team USA won the bronze medal, beating the Czech Republic 9-3.

Blichfeld, who was injured in Denmark's final game of the tournament on Thursday, is expected to be OK.

Team Canada, with eight WHL players including Everett Silvertips goalie Carter Hart, scored late in the third period and added an empty-net goal to beat Team Sweden 3-1 in Friday's gold medal game at the World Juniors tournament in Buffalo, New York.

All three Portland players who participated in the World Juniors tournament will take a short break before returning to the Winterhawks.

On Saturday, Portland plays at Everett at 7 p.m. The Silvertips, who lost 5-0 at Victoria on Friday, lead the U.S. Division by one point over the Winterhawks.

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