After the excitement of riding a seven-game winning streak, the Portland Winterhawks saw it come to an end this week.
The Hawks beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-3 in a dramatic shootout on Saturday, then fell to the Spokane Chiefs, 6-5 Wednesday night.
The weekend win over the Thunderbirds brought Portland to 29-21-1-2 overall in front of a sellout crowd of 10,947 at the Moda Center.
Seattle put up an impressive 54 shots on goal, compared to only 39 shots by Portland. But somehow, someway the Hawks found themselves in position for the game-winning goal in the seventh round of the shootout, made by Alex Overhardt as he found the back of the net.
Before that, both teams had four power-play opportunities and were unable to cash in on any of those chances.
Luckily the man in the net for Portland provided the help that the Hawks needed. Goalie Cole Kehler saved all seven shots in the shootout and overall made 51 saves on the 54 shots the Thunderbirds fired on net. Overhardt led the way for Portland overall, with the game-tying goal late in the third period, an assist and finally, the game-winner in the shootout.
The Hawks are clearly hitting their stride and it had been somewhat of a surprise – they are making a late run at the playoffs and have got themselves in position to make something happen, once there.
On Wednesday, after a tight battle with the Spokane Chiefs, the winning streak came to an end. The narrow loss brought the Chiefs within nine points of the Hawks in the Western Hockey League’s playoff wildcard race.
Portland started the game with a goal in the first five minutes, but minutes later the Chiefs tied it up. By the end of the first period the game was tied at two goals apiece. The second period was the lowest scoring, seeing just one goal scored by each side.
The third period started with a huge goal from Skyler McKenzie, briefly giving Portland a 4-3 lead. The excitement of the goal lasted for less than three minutes, though, as Spokane responded with three straight goals to take a 6-4 lead. Near the end the Hawks scored one more time, with less than two minutes remaining, but that was all she wrote.
So, the win streak is dead but the loss in no way will kill the season. It’ll be interesting to see if the Hawks can turn it back on, and go on a new winning streak.
Their next game is at 7 o’clock tonight against the Chiefs again, in Portland.