Winterhawks clinch playoff berth
The Portland Winterhawks clinched a spot in the Western Hockey League playoffs on Wednesday, beating the Prince George Cougars 5-4 at Moda Center.
Cody Glass, who loves playing at Moda Center, scored two goals and added two assists as the reunited top-scoring line of Glass, Keegan Iverson and Skyler McKenzie accounted for four Portland goals.
Portland's win, combined with Spokane losing to Everett, guaranteesd the Winterhawks will be one of the eight teams in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Winterhawks (36-26-1-3 for 76 points) remained eighth in the conference. They moved 14 points ahead of Spokane, which can finish with a maximum of 74 points.
Prince George (42-21-3-2) remained two points ahead of Kelowna atop the B.C. Division. The Cougars are two points behind U.S. Division leader Everett for first place in the conference. Seattle is one point ahead of Prince George and a point back of Everett.
Portland, likely to finish eighth in the conference, would open the playoffs against the top-seeded team.
Goals by Glass and Joachim Blichfeld in the third period made the difference in front of a crowd of 7,024.
With the teams skating four-on-four, Glass scored his second of the night to give Portland a 4-3 lead with 16:17 left in the third. Caleb Jones poked the puck ahead to Glass in the neutral zone, sending Glass and McKenzie on a two-on-one. Glass wristed the puck under the crossbar.
With 11:51 remaining, Blichfeld scored from low in the left circle after a pinpoint cross-ice pass from Henri Jokharju, making the lead 5-3.
Less than a minute later, a goal from Colby McAuley off a feed from Radovan Bondra made it 5-4.
Portland's top scoring line — back together after one game — produced the first three goals as Glass, McKenzie and Iverson each scored.
Glass scored 5:36 into the first period. McKenzie notched his team's leading 38th goal 8:53 into the game to give Portland a 2-0 lead.
Prince George scored two goals later in the first period, and took a 3-2 lead in the first minute of the second period. Two of those goals came on the power play.
Iverson tied it at 3-3 at 11:56 of the second period, finishing a rebound of a Glass shot for his 22nd goal of the season.
Iverson, Glass and Colton Veloso each hit the post with shots in the game.
Hawks goalie Cole Kehler made 29 saves for his fourth consecutive win.
Portland was scoreless on four power plays, two cut short by Hawks penalties. Prince George was 2 for 5 on the power play.
Iverson finished with a goal and assist. Jones and Jokiharju each had two assists.
A busy stretch for Portland continues on Friday with a game at Spokane before home games on Saturday against Seattle and on Sunday against Everett (both at Memorial Coliseum).