Caleb Jones scored on a penalty shot in overtime to give the Portland Winterhawks (17-16-1-0) a 5-4 win over the Tri-City Americans (14-19-2-0) Sunday at the Moda Center in front of 10,349 fans.
Jones was sent on a break into the Tri-Cities zone when he was hauled down from behind and awarded a penalty shot. On the penalty shot attempt, Jones deked past netminder Evan Sarthou and slid the puck into the net to give the Hawks the win.
It was only the second time in Winterhawks history the team won a game on an overtime penalty shot, as Todd Robinson is the only other Hawk to accomplish the feat, doing so on February 22, 1999 in Medicine Hat.
Portland opened the scoring 9:52 into the game on a power play when Alex Schoenborn stationed himself in front of the Americans’ net, then tipped a Rodrigo Abols shot past Sarthou for a 1-0 lead.
Late in the period, the Americans got goals a minute apart from Parker Bowles and Jeff Rayman to take a 2-1 lead, but with 23.1 seconds to go in the frame, Rihards Bukarts collected a rebound and slid the puck past Sarthou to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the second. For Bukarts, it extended his point streak to 11 games, with a point in each game this month.
The Americans scored twice to open the second, as goals by Morgan Geekie and Tyler Sandhu gave the visitors a 4-2 lead. Later in the period with the Hawks on a power play, Abols scored at 15:17 to cut the deficit to 4-3 heading into the third.
It remained a one-goal game until 14:27 of the third when Evan Weinger scored from the right faceoff circle to even the game and force overtime, leading to Jones’s winner.
The Hawks had two key forwards back tonight after lengthy absences. Rodrigo Abols was back in the lineup tonight for the first time since December 5 after representing his native Latvia in Group A of the World Junior Championship. He led his country to the championship, gaining them a promotion to the main tournament next year.
In addition, Keegan Iverson made his return tonight, his first appearance since November 25 due to a lower-body injury.
The Hawks and Americans meet again Tuesday in Kennewick, WA.