It was quite a start on Friday night. Less than two minutes into the game, Jared Freadrich scored on the power play against his former team to give the Hawks the first lead of the night. That lead remained intact through the media timeout, but Victoria answered back. Kaid Oliver scored his 10th of the season by redirecting a centering feed on the man advantage.
The rest of the period went the Hawks’ way. Portland collected its second power play goal of the night from a Brendan De Jong point blast. Before the end of the first, Reece Newkirk made a nifty move off the right wing wall and scored a pretty one in the slot to make it a 3-1 contest.
Victoria was able to tie the game in the second frame. Oliver netted his second of the night moments after a power play expired and D-Jay Jerome scored a breakaway goal to tie the game at three. Before the period ended, the Hawks regained the lead. Jake Gricius stripped the puck on the wing and centered it to Ryan Hughes, who scored his fifth of the season.
Portland pulled away in the third period. Joachim Blichfeld scored an insurance goal shortly after a Victoria power play expired, shooting from a sharp angle below the left circle to beat Griffen Outhouse and making it a 5-3 lead for the Hawks. Later in the third, a giveaway by the Royals proved to be costly, as Cody Glass collected the puck in the slot and was left all alone with a clear shooting lane. The Hawks captain extended the lead to 6-3 with his goal and picked up his fourth point of the night.
Rookie forward Haydn Delorme added an empty net goal late in the frame to seal the 7-3 Winterhawks victory. The goal was his first in the WHL.
After last night, the Royals have now lost four of their last six games and will be looking for their tenth win of the season at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Seven goals was the second most the Royals have allowed this season. A once 3-3 game in the second period led to four unanswered by the Hawks. Cody Glass capped off a four point night to reach the 250 point milestone of his WHL career.
Kaid Oliver scored twice on Friday night, representing back-to-back multi-goal games for the British Columbia forward. He’s in the midst of a five game point streak. D-Jay Jerome recorded his third multi-point performance of the season thanks in part to scoring one of the best goals of the night.
Goaltender Griffen Outhouse had his worst performance of the season against Portland. Before Friday, Outhouse has not allowed more than three goals in a game and his 21 save outing on Friday night was the lowest of his year. Special teams play did not benefit the Royals, either. Despite scoring a power play goal, the Royals were just 60% on killing penalties from the Rose City. They will need to clean up their defensive play to get back in the win column.
After Saturday night, the Hawks face the Royals in Victoria on Tuesday, December 11th and Wednesday, December 12th.