The Portland Winterhawks tied the game with less than three minutes remaining in the third period and went on to defeat the Vancouver Giants 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday night at the Pacific Coliseum. Dominik Volek, Dalton Thrower, Brett Kulak and Dalton Sward had the Vancouver goals.
Alex Schoenborn put the Winterhawks on the board just under three minutes into the game when he re-directed a high centring pass from Keegan Iverson past Rathjen. Volek would equalize for the Giants on the power play when he batted a loose puck into the Portland net from the top of the crease. The Winterhawks went ahead again when Chase De Leo rippled the mesh with a hard shot off the right wing, but Thrower pulled the Giants back onto level terms again, scoring on a slap shot from the point. Kulak gave the Vancouver club its first lead of the hockey game when he tallied his 14th of the season on a long wrist shot that snuck past Winterhawks goalie Corbin Boes.
Portland tied the game at 3-3 early in the second when Paul Bittner beat Rathjen short side off the rush. Don Hay opted for a goaltending change after the tying goal, and Rathjen left the game after surrendering three goals on 10 shots. The Winterhaws went to a man advantage later in the stanza, but Sward netted his third shorthanded goal of the year to give Vancouver the lead, making a strong power move around Derrick Pouliot before tucking the puck past Boes' pad on the forehand.
Payton Lee was the story of the third period. The Vancouver goaltender made a number of big stops, but he got some help from the iron as well when De Leo fired a puck off the cross-bar off the rush. Moments later, Lee came up huge, stopping Schoenborn on a breakaway to keep the Giants ahead, but Portland tied the game in the late stages when Adam De Champlain was sprung in on a shorthanded break and beat Lee stick side.
Overtime solved nothing, and the Giants went to their fourth shootout of the season. Volek and Cain Franson were both stopped by Boes while Pouliot and Taylor Leier scored for Portland to clinch the win.
Vancouver will open a three game road trip on Friday in Kamloops against the Blazers. Catch the action on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show begins at 6:00pm, followed by the face-off at 7 o'clock.
1. Dalton Sward - Vancouver
2. Chase De Leo - Portland
3. Payton Lee - Vancouver