The second game of the season could end up being the Game of the Year. The Portland Winterhawks trailed the Kelowna Rockets 5-3 with 5 minutes left and Luke Shelter 66 seconds later before Gabe Classen scored his fourth. It was tied and then Luca Canioni won in overtime.
|5:11 POR (ps) Gabe Classen 1-0||Luca Cagnoni completed a long pass from deep in his own area to Klassen, cutting into the middle just above the scrimmage. Elias Carmichael gave him a tap from behind, which was enough for him to score a penalty. If the standard is applied, there will be many. Klassen forehand backhand goalkeeper Jari Kykkanen converts.|
|12:41 KEL Adam Kidd (Nolan Fleming, Jack Poole) 1-1||Carter Sotheran is knocked behind the net by Kydd, triggering a chain reaction that sends Robbie Fromm-Delorme to the ground. Kidd took advantage of the opportunity to go to the back door to take an open pass from Flemish.|
|26:28 POR Gabe Classen (Carter Southerland) 2-1||Just before the blue line in Kelowna, Sotherland in his own area made a precise pass to Klassen in the back of the defense. Klassen scored from the top inside edge of the left circle.|
|29:16 KEL Gabriel Szturc (Adam Kydd, Caden Price) 2-2||Kydd backhanded past Kyle Chyzowski, goalkeeper Dante Giannuzzi stopped him, but the bounced ball passed through the middle to follow-up Szturc.|
|38:40 KEL Andrew Cristall (Gabriel Szturc, Adam Kydd) 2-3||In what was essentially an unproven power-play goal, top prospect Kristol did well in the backhand of a pass from Szturc at the back of the net.|
|40:54 KEL (pp) Andrew Cristall (Adam Kydd, Gabriel Szturc) 2-4||This time it was an official power goal, and Kidd made no mistake with a diagonal shot from behind the net to find Crystal on the inner edge of the left circle.|
|49:31 POR Gabe Klassen (Carter Sotheran, Luca Cagnoni) 3-4||Canioni moved brilliantly through Kelowna’s defence to find Sotherland in the open and he scored a hat-trick with the ball to the open Classen.|
|50:53 KEL (pp) Gabriel Szturc (Elias Carmichael, Adam Kydd) 3-5||In power play, Kurtis Smythe and Giannuzzi were unable to pass low to Szturc, who was somehow able to get the ball into the net.|
|55:19 POR (sh) Gabe Klassen (Kyle Chyzowski) 4-5||This is the biggest one. As Portland beat the double-minor, Kykkanen handed the puck to Chyzowksi, who found Klassen in his fourth, giving the Winterhawks a chance.|
|56:25 POR Luke Shelter (Carter Southerland, Jack O’Brien) 5-5||After receiving a pass from O’Brien, Sotheran cut through the traffic and passed the ball to O’Brien, who hit defenseman Caden Price’s skates with O’Brien’s shot, straight from the back door to the open Schelter to tie.|
|62:48 POR Luca Cagnoni (Marcus Nguyen) 6-5||The puck was free after a board battle after Nguyen’s placement on Robbie Fromm-Delorme forced a big save from Kykkanen, with Cagnoni finishing the ball from a very high position, just outside the scrimmage. RFD probably deserves help.|
Pre-match expectations: It was expected to be a close game and we definitely did.
The most important moment: Klassen’s underhanded goal. With less than five minutes left in the game, the Rockets finished their power game with a worst-case 5-3 lead. Goalie Kikanen made a mistake, and Portland put pressure on it from there.
Other key moments: Schelter’s tie and Cagnoni’s winner were obvious.
Offense vs. defense: Very offensive. The Rockets got Portland in power play, and Portland was beating the Rockets’ defense with long passes the entire game.
Early decision vs late decision: late.
Special team: Portland’s underhanded goal reversed a huge advantage in Kelowna. The Rockets scored another 3 seconds after a power game to win 6-2. If Kelowna wins, that will be the key story. In the two games, Portland has won 3 times and faced off 11 times.
Stars vs. Unsung Heroes: Now considering Classen, who led the league with 6 goals and 6 points, became a star, it was largely a star game, produced by Classon and Kelowna’s top players Kydd, Szturc and Cristall. Role player Shelter scored an equalizer.
old to young: mixture. Kristol scored two goals in his highly rated draft year. The 17-year-old Winterhawks’ Sotherland recorded the first three assists of his WHL career. But the top scorers are veterans Klassen, Kydd and Szturc.
Best team wins? : 50-50 games.
Injuries/Suspensions: [/pro camps:] In a game that didn’t need more offense, both teams missed their best returning scorer in pro camp, Colton Dach for Kelowna, James James Stefan represents Portland. The Winterhawks are missing two defensemen in pro camp, Ryan McCleary and Marek Arsher, but they probably won’t replace Carter Sotheran. Kelowna could have used 20-year-old goalie Talyn Boyko, but he probably won’t be back.
|top 10||Statistics line|
|Gabe Classen||door to door||4 goals||That’s 15 shots and 6 goals. He found a good scoring position.|
|Adam Kidd||Kyle||1 goal 4 assists||on all 5 targets.|
|Luca Cannoni||door to door||1 goal, 1 assist||A long pass went to Classen for a free throw, but he didn’t get an assist, and he was with the Rockets players the entire game. There is no best defensive game, but no one does it.|
|Gabriel Sturk||Kyle||2 goals and 2 assists||Czechs’ 4th birthday.|
|Carter Southland||door to door||3 assists||First 3 assists in his career. They aren’t cheap either. Looks like he’s comfortable in a game like this.|
|Andrew Crystal||Kyle||2 goals||In almost all games, he didn’t make much of an impact. But he made up for it with two (essentially) powerful goals, both beautiful.|
|Luke Shelter||door to door||1 goal||Got the correct bounce for the equalizer.|
|Kyle Sizowski||door to door||1 assist||Kikanen’s steal turned the game around.|
|Marcus Nguyen||door to door||1 assist||Fromm-Delorme’s setup kept the game going, culminating in an overtime win.|
|Nolan Fleming||Kyle||1 assist||Kidd’s backdoor pass was Kelowna’s first.|
Over the past two seasons, they’ve found a knack for turning games into chaos when they’re down in the third quarter and getting out of the game. Even if they don’t win, they play the game on their own terms. You don’t want to rely too heavily on it; the Seattle Thunderbirds shut that down in the playoffs, and that’s a key. But when it works, it’s fun.
Their next two games are against the Tri-Cities and Medicine Hat, two of the worst teams last season, despite their huge victories on Saturday. They will be the favorites of the two games. They could be the favorites at Spokane on the road and then Edmonton at home. There is a good chance that they will lead 6-0, although they may suffer a turnover.
Guess they’ll spend the week on defense. The Winterhawks burned them too many times.
Saturday vs. Tri-Cities, 6 p.m.
Looking to the future: Saturday, October 8 vs. Medicine Hat, 6pm (forever first intersessional match)
Next road race: Sunday, October 9 at 5pm in Spokane
Next game against Kelowna: Friday October 28 vs Kelowna, 7pm