The Portland Winterhawks defeated the Kelowna Rockets 3-1 on Friday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
The opening frame was fast and furious but despite that, and despite each team getting a 5-on-3 opportunity, the two clubs remained scoreless through 20 minutes of play.
It took until 11:59 of the second but Kieffer Bellows(7) broke the stalemate to give Portland a one goal advantage. They held on to that 1-0 lead in to the final stanza.
The two teams battled back and forth until 7:24 remaining when Skyler McKenzie batted the puck out of the air into the back of the net to give the Winterhawks a late 2-0 lead. Portland goaltender Cole Kehler seemed nearly unbeatable until Kyle Topping ripped home his sixth of the season at the 14:5o mark to draw the Rockets within one. Cody Glass would end the Rockets hopes of a comeback with an empty net goal with 13 seconds remaining and the Winterhawks took it 3-1.
James Porter was stellar, collecting the first star despite picking up the loss, stopping 45 of 47 shots he faced as the Rockets were out-shot 48-27. Porter’s record falls to 1-2-1-0.
Kelowna’s record is now 4-5-1-1.
Kelowna and Portland play their final battle of the regular season tomorrow night at Prospera Place for Paint the Rink Pink night – a night in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. The Rockets will be sporting specialty pink jerseys that are to be auctioned off at the game with all of the proceeds going to the C.C.S. Puck drop tomorrow night is at 7:05pm.