Giannuzzi backstops Winterhawks win
Coming off rare consecutive losses, the Portland Winterhawks found themselves in a battle Friday with the Tri-City Americans.
But rookie goalie Dante Giannuzzi came up big and the Winterhawks got timely goals from Seth Jarvis and Mason Mannek in a 3-1 Western Hockey League win over the Americans at Kennewick, Washington.
The win keeps Portland a point ahead of surging Everett atop the U.S. Division. The Winterhawks are 41-10-3-4 (89 points). Everett beat Kelowna in overtime to improve to 42-12-3-1 (88 points).
Tri-City is 17-36-4-1 (39 points), at the bottom of the Western Conference.
But, with goalie Talyn Boyko making 27 of his 34 saves, the game was scoreless until late in the second period.
Portland's Jarvis finally broke the ice, converting a rebound chance with 21.6 seconds left in the second period. He scored at the end of a dominant shift that included a denial of a Jarvis breakaway moments before the goal.
Jarvis missed the first half of the second period, serving a 10-minute misconduct penalty for playing without a mouthpiece.
Tri-City nearly answered right away, but Giannuzzi produced two quick stop on in-close chances in the final seconds of the second period.
Mannek scored a short-handed goal midway through the third period to make it 2-0.
Edge Lambert redirected a shot for a Tri-City power-play goal to make it 2-1 with 4:43 remaining. But Jaydon Dureau converted an empty-net goal with 1:32 left off a feed from Jarvis to restore the two-goal margin.
Portland scratched players included Reece Newkirk, Simon Knak and Jonas Brondberg, and it lost team captain Johnny Ludvig for much of the night.
Ludvig took an awkward spill along the boards in front of the benches late in the first period and, after laying on the ice for a couple of minutes, needed help from several teammates and from trainer Rich Campbell to get to the locker room. He returned to the Portland bench area in street clothes.
The Winterhawks are at Seattle on Saturday (6 p.m., TV KRCW) and at Everett on Sunday.
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