(Spokane, WA) The offense woke up for the Spokane Chiefs (25-17-2-3) on Wednesday night against the Portland Winterhawks (30-14-3-2) as they scored seven goals on 47 shots. Riley Woods led the way for the Chiefs with a goal and four assists.
The first period was a precursor of what was to come throughout the game. The Chiefs came out firing shots at Winterhawks goalie Joel Hofer.
Spokane got pucks to the net from all angles and every opportunity during the opening frame, firing 16 total.
Riley Woods picked up the puck behind the Portland net, cut to the front, and beat Winterhawks goalie Joel Hofer for the early 1-0 lead.
Portland tied the game with 2:10 left in the first period. Josh Paterson deflected a Jared Freadrich shot from the point. The chance was created after Czech Republic native Michal Kvansica made a move around a Chiefs defender.
WHL leading scorer Joachim Blichfeld spotted Freadrich at the point who then shot the puck towards Bailey Brkin’s net. The goal was Paterson’s 18th of the season, and fourth with Portland after being acquired from Saskatoon at the trade deadline.
The second period was once again all Spokane as they netted three and sent another 16 shots on net.
Luc Smith and Jaret Anderson-Dolan each scored on the power play breaking the game open.
Smith found time and space to the right of the Portland net. Riley Woods spotted the 19-year-old forward for his 21st goal of the season.
Seven minutes later Anderson-Dolan showed why the Los Angeles Kings drafted him the in the second round. The Calgary, AB native sent an NHL caliber wrist shot over Hofer’s shoulder extending the Chiefs lead to 3-1.
With only 13 seconds remaining in the second period, Luc Smith’s backhanded shot found the twine. The Chiefs took a three-goal advantage and 32-15 shot advantage into the third period.
In the middle period Portland had a few good looks in front of Brkin, but were unable to sustain any pressure in the offensive zone.
Portland appeared to have an opportunity to climb back into the game as Spokane took a tripping penalty only four seconds into the final period. However, instead of cutting into the Chiefs lead, the Winterhawks were forced to slash Anderson-Dolan on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Winterhawks power play continues to struggle lighting the lamp. After Wednesday’s game, Portland has not been able to score on any of their last 25 chances.
With Portland trying to find a way back into the game, a turnover at center ice led to a Jake McGrew breakaway. The 19-year-old, San Jose Sharks prospect, made no mistake shooting on the backhand for his 20th goal of the season.
Just over two minutes later, Ethan McIndoe scored his 10th goal of the season after finding a loose puck to the side of Hofer.
With the score 6-1 Portland Winterhawks Head Coach Mike Johnston replaced Hofer with Shane Farkas.
Jack Finley joined the scoring party for the Chiefs on the power play. His shot rolled up and over Farkas into the net.
With the score out of reach, Portland’s frustration boiled over as John Ludvig and Jaret Anderson-Dolan got into a confrontation on the ice. As Ludvig got closer to the Spokane bench, he ended up engaged with Luc Smith.
Luc Smith and Ludvig exchanged punches while Ludvig was on the ice and Smith on his bench.
Michal Kvasnica was perhaps the best Winterhawk on Wednesday. His play allowed Portland to tie the game in the first period, as well as score their second of the night. He drove to the net and Lane Gilliss found a loose puck for his 11th goal of the season, and fourth in January.
Spokane’s ability to transition from defense to offense was on full display on Wednesday. Whether the Chiefs defensemen skated the puck out of the zone, or made a pass to a forward, the zone exits were wide open for the Chiefs all evening.
The Winterhawks return back to Portland to face-off against the B.C. Division leading Vancouver Giants on Friday before rematching with the Chiefs on Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
– John Ludvig returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games due to a nagging injury.
– Cody Glass missed his second consecutive game while recovering from a lower-body injury. The Winterhawks captain is listed as day-to-day.
– Portland dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen on Wednesday.