Winterhawks rally, even series
The Portland Winterhawks shook off a two-goal deficit and used a big third-period push to beat the Spokane Chiefs 5-3 on Saturday, tying their first-round Western Hockey League playoff series at 1-1.
Josh Paterson scored twice and Lane Gilliss, Mason Mannek and Matthew Quigley had goals for Portland at Spokane Veteran's Memorial Arena.
Games 3 and 4 will be 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
In an oddity, neither team was penalized a night after the teams combined for 13 power-play chances.
It is believed to be the first time in the Winterhawks' 43 seasons they have played a game with no penalties called against either team.
Portland scored three goals in a 3:36 span midway through the third period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Joel Hofer shook off an early misplay that resulted in Spokane's first goal and played strong in goal. Hofer earned his first career WHL playoff win. He made 23 saves — including a big stop on Jaret Anderson-Dolan midway through the second period and a denial of Riley Woods with Portland up 3-2 — and took away shooting angles on several other opportunities for the Chiefs.
"He kept us in it and made big-time timely saves," Winterhawks associate coach Kyle Gustafson said.
Offensively, the Hawks had a bunch of unlikely heroes.
Spokane led 2-0 lead 13:19 into the second period when Luc Smith converted off a Jack Finlay feed from behind the goal line.
Paterson scored 2:06 later to get Portland on the board. Starting with a pass out of his defensive end, Paterson took a pass from Jaydon Dureau and had space in the slot to beat goalie Bailey Brkin.
The Chiefs had a chance to extend the lead about five minutes into the third period, but a shot by Adam Beckman hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Gilliss tied the score at 2-2 with a wrister from the left-wing faceoff circle 8:11 into the third period after Portland entered the zone with speed.
"He just kept fighting through checks, and at the end he was able to spark a bit of a two-on-one and get loose," Gustafson said. "It was about his effort and his fight through checks. Obviously, the goal was a big-time play."
Paterson put Portland ahead 3-2 just 1:40 later as he batted home a bouncing puck from the slot as three Spokane players tried to find it.
The Winterhawks continued to control play, and Mason Mannek banked a bad-angle shot off Birkin to make the count 4-2 with 7:23 left.
The Hawks — who outshot Spokane 15-6 in the third period and 35-26 for the game — continued to play mostly in the attacking zone, but got caught by a Spokane breakout that led to a Beckman goal with 2:34 remaining.
The Chiefs pulled Brkin for an extra attacker after winning the center-ice faceoff. Portland was able to work the puck to neutral ice, and Quigley found the empty-net for only his second goal of the season to make the score 5-3 with 2:15 remaining.
Spokane continued to press with Brkin on the bench over the last two minutes, but the Hawks were strong in the faceoff circle, blocked several shots and got a few more saves through traffic from Hofer.
Portland was again without star forward Cody Glass (day-to-day). Defenseman John Ludvig served the first game of a two-game suspension for his hit to the head of Spokane's Ethan McIndoe in Game 1. Forward Michael Kvasnica also did not dress for Portland as 18-year-old Rylan Bettens, who appeared in four games for Portland in October, got several shifts.
In addition to his two goals, Paterson won 7 of 11 faceoffs. Jake Gricius was huge in the faceoff circle, winning 19 of 27.
Paterson has points in eight consecutive games, and his line with rookies Dureau and Seth Jarvis had the Chiefs on their heels for significant stretches.
"That line was outstanding tonight for us," Gustafson said. "We felt it was our best line start to finish. They just seem to feed off each other, their speed, their transition game. I thought they had heavy (strong) sticks for the most part."
Dureau, Jarvis, Kade Nolan, Nick Cicek and Robbie Fromm-Delorme each picked up his first WHL playoff point with an assist.
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