Portland scores three straight goals in beating the Kelowna Rockets 3-1 Saturday

Hawks take down Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets will be glad to see the last of the Portland Winterhawks this season.

Portland completed the season sweep of the Rockets - a 3-1 victory Saturday before an announced crowd of 3,400 at Prospera Place.

After fighting from well behind in each of the three previous meetings with the Winterhawks, it was the Rockets who jumped out quickly when Jake Poole banged home his seventh on a rebound just 31 seconds into the contest.

It was the only puck they were able to get past former Prince George netminder Taylor Gauthier.

"Obviously scoring early like we did, we were able to dictate, but as the game wore on unfortunately we got into a track meet with a really, really high skilled team," said head coach Kris Mallette.

"You give them opportunities on the power play, it's only a matter of time before it's in the back of your net. We made things a little difficult at times, but we did a lot of real good things too."

Mallette says the team will learn from it and be better moving forward.

Kelowna had chances to increase the lead moments later on a pair of power plays, but were unable to capitalize.

In fact, it was the Winterhawks who had the best chances. Talyn Boyko made a spectacular lunging glove save off Marcus Nguyen on a two-man breakaway. Moments later, Jaydon Dureau fanned on a shot when he was sent in all alone.

Portland's top line, featuring Cross Hanas and James Stefan took over from there, accounting for all three goals in the Winterhawks comeback.

Hanas took a feed from Stefan in the slot and beat Boyko nine minutes into the first.

Stefan scored what proved to be the winning goal 15 minutes into the second, beating Boyko with a howitzer just inside the near post from the right circle.

He sealed it on a power play following a pretty three-way passing play near the midway point of the third.

Gauthier stopped 38 shots to post his first victory in a Winterhawks jersey.

The former Cougar was acquired in a trade near the end of December, but made just his first start Saturday after coming out of the COVID protocol.

The Rockets were scheduled to play in Prince George next Tuesday and Wednesday, however, those games have been postponed with Prince George in COVID protocol.

Games against the Victoria Royals at Prospera Place next Friday and Saturday remain scheduled despite the Royals also pausing team activities due to positive results.

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