Marcus Nguyen scored twice for Portland, but a four-goal second stanza helped the Edmonton Oil Kings hold off the Hawks for a 5-4 win at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.
The loss marks just the first time Portland has lost consecutive games this season.
Each team scored once in a somewhat disjointed first period, with Landon Hansen’s first WHL goal giving Edmonton an early lead and Nguyen’s shorthanded strike late in the frame evening things up.
Nguyen quickly grabbed his second goal of the night with another breakaway bid 6:01 into the middle frame, but a run of four consecutive Edmonton goals saw the hosts begin to pull away. Adam Jecho, Rilen Kovacevic, Marc Lajoie and Marshall Finnie each scored in a span of 5:36 as the Oil Kings opened the floodgates.
A pair of power-play tallies gave Portland life – first from Josh Zakreski late in the second stanza on a bank shot from the goal line, then from James Stefan midway through the third. Stefan’s goal was initially disallowed as a chaotic scene in the crease pushed the puck across the line, but upon further review was deemed to be a legal goal. The Hawks pushed and had chances to tie things up late with a handful of Grade-A looks, but Kolby Hay held strong to finish with a 39-save victory.
Jan Špunar stopped 23 of 28 shots in Portland’s loss, the first time he has given up more than two goals in a game this season.
The Winterhawks are back in action tomorrow from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary at 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time.