Portland Winterhawks/Keith Dwiggins

Winterhawks hang on to beat Chiefs

 

The Portland Winterhawks managed to hang on to a narrow win to beat the Spokane Chiefs Sunday night. This was the 150th time the Winterhawks have won against the Chiefs in franchise history.

As the opening weekend comes to a close, the Winterhawks have a strong start, bringing five of a possible six points back to Portland. While Sunday’s game is considered their first “home” game of the season, the game was played at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. The Winterhawks return to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, their home arena, on Friday as they face the Everett Silvertips for the first time this season.

Heading into the game

Following an injury to Portland forward Tyson Kozak in Saturday’s game, the Winterhawks only had 11 available forwards for the game as Kishaun Gervais is also out due to injury. Short a forward, the Winterhawks called on Luca Cagnoni to play as the seventh defenseman for his WHL debut.

Mason Beaupit had the night off as he was in net Saturday night for the middle frame of Spokane’s three-in-three weekend. Meanwhile, forward Jack Finley has yet to appear in a game for the Chiefs this season.

Tales from the crease

Between the two teams, there were 71 shots recorded in the game.

Brock Gould made his first appearance in net for the Winterhawks, stopping 30 of the 33 shots that came his way. It seems 30 must be the magic number for the Winterhawks this year. All three of the Winterhawks’ games this season have seen their netminder make 30 saves.

Meanwhile, Campbell Arnold made 34 saves on 38 shots. Arnold has made 34 saves in both of his appearances so far this season.

Portland’s scoring moments

Winterhawks’ captain, Nick Cicek, opened the scoring with his first goal of the season.

Perhaps the biggest story of the night belongs to the Winterhawks’ penalty kill. Having taken just three penalties in the game, the Winterhawks scored short-handed during two of them.

Simon Knak scored the first, though it took some time for the call to be made. Without video review this season, the teams must rely on what the officials can see in the moment. Tonight, the call went Portland’s way; it will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses.

The second shorthanded goal for the Winterhawks came on a breakaway. Forward Reece Newkirk zeroed in and tallied his second game-winner of the season in as many nights.

Spokane’s scoring moments

Once again, Adam Beckman finds himself on the right path to defend last year’s scoring title. Breaking the shutout with an unassisted goal early in the third period.

Chiefs’ rookie Mac Gross netted his first WHL career goal to pull the Chiefs within two, with Reed Jacobson adding the game’s final goal a minute and a half later.

Post-game comments

“I thought the penalty kill was really solid. We like it when we’re aggressive,” said Winterhawks’ assistant coach Don Hay following the game.

He continued with some words of praise for Beckman and Chiefs’ captain Eli Zummack.

“When you’re going against Beckman and Zummack, they’re really good, solid, top-end players in our league and Spokane’s always had a real tough power play against us so for us to take advantage of any type of breakdowns was really good.”

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