Bukarts Has Hat Trick, But Winterhawks Fall 5-4 in OT in Spokane


The Portland Winterhawks (16-16-1-0) fell 5-4 in overtime Saturday in Spokane to the Chiefs (17-13-3-1) in the team’s last game before the holiday break.

It was the second straight night the two teams went to an extra period, after the Hawks won in overtime in Spokane Friday.

Rihards Bukarts had a hat trick in the loss, and added an assist for four points to continue his torrid play. Bukarts has a 10-game point streak, with at least one point in every game this month, for a total of 18 points in December. After not registering a hat trick in his first 150 career WHL games, Bukarts has now done it twice in the last six games.

The Hawks opened the scoring 4:52 into the game when Bukarts beat netminder Tyson Verhelst, extending his point streak to 10 games. Bukarts struck again at 6:34 on a power play to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead they took into the second.

After Portland scored twice in the first, it was the Chiefs who had two of their own in the second. Spokane got on the board 36 seconds into the frame when Kailer Yamamoto scored to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Chiefs tied it at 16:21 on a goal by Tyson Helgesen to make it 2-2 going into the third.

The Hawks regained a lead 4:05 into the third when a big rebound off a shot by Cody Glass ended up on the stick of Evan Weinger, who beat Verhelst for a 3-2 advantage. The Chiefs tied it once again at 8:21 when Markson Bechtold scored to make it 3-3.

Bukarts then scored his hat trick goal at 13:48 of the third as the Hawks again went ahead, 4-3. It remained a one-goal game until eight seconds remained, when Spokane’s Jason Fram scored to tie it at 4-4 and force overtime.

Fifty seconds into the extra frame with the Chiefs on a power play, Kailer Yamamoto scored to give Spokane the win.

Along with the four points Bukarts registered, defenseman Jack Dougherty had two helpers.

The Hawks are now off for a week for the league’s holiday break. They’ll return to action on Sunday, December 27 when they take on the Tri-City Americans at the Moda Center at 5 p.m.

Scott Harrigan
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