The electric Portland Winterhawks star had a goal and set up two others to lead Portland to a 4-2 victory over the Tips on the final day of the Holiday Inn Preseason Classic at Comcast Arena.
Bjorkstrand had amazing set-ups for Portland’s two first-period goals, which staked the Winterhawks to a 2-1 lead. Then after Everett tied it in the second, Bjorkstrand scored what turned out to be the game winner early in the third.
“He’s an NHL-caliber player,” Everett winger Zane Jones said of Bjorkstrand. “Him and (Nicolas) Petan are skilled guys, you have to play hard against them. They’re going to beat you every now and then, but you have to minimize that and get to the net first.
“I think we played really hard the first 40,” Jones added. “Then we had undisciplined penalties, myself included, and it just got away in the third period.”
The power play proved to be the difference in the game. Portland scored what amounted to three power-play goals on six chances. Meanwhile, Everett finished 0-for-6, making the Tips 1-for-23 with the advantage during their three games over the weekend.
Petan, Blake Heinrich and Chase De Leo scored the other goals for Portland (3-0). Michael Bullion earned the win in goal with 32 saves.
Lucas Skrumeda and Graham Millar scored for Everett (1-2). Austin Lotz started the game in goal for the Tips and stopped six of eight shots, then Mario Petit saved 12 of 14 in relief.
Everett winger Dawson Leedahl was given a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind in the second period. He faces a possible suspension for the hit.
Bjorkstrand had two unbelievable set-ups in the first period to lead Portland to a 2-1 lead. First, just 31 seconds into the game, he threaded a 60-foot diagonal pass to set Petan free on goal, and Petan sniped the top corner to open the scoring. Then after Skrumeda tied it up at 4:07, Bjorkstrand sped into the Everett zone and behind the net, then sent the puck out front where Heinrich put a shot in off the crossbar, giving the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal at 6:37.
Everett kept Bjorkstrand quiet in the second period, and the Tips tied it up at 10:18. Ivan Nikolishin kept going despite being hooked, and he fed Jones who fed Millar for a backhander out front, making it 2-2. The Tips had great chances to take the lead late in the period, but Remi Laurencelle and Carter Cochrane put pucks wide from close range.
However, Bjorkstrand was back at it in the third, one-timing in a feed from Petan just after an Everett penalty expired to restore Portland’s lead at 2:38. De Leo added an insurance goal on the power play at 15:53 to clinch it.
The Tri-City Americans scored three times in the third period to defeat the Victoria Royals 3-1 in the morning game. Joel Topping, Jackson Playfair and Justin Marreck scored the goals for Tri-City (1-2), while Eric Comrie earned the win with 30 saves. Ryan Peckford scored and Michael Herringer made 23 saves in goal for Victoria (0-3). ... Adam Helewka scored the game’s only goal as the Spokane Chiefs knocked off the Seattle Thunderbirds 1-0 in the afternoon contest. Tyson Verhelst and Garret Hughson combined on a 19-save shutout for Spokane (2-1), which outshot a youthful Seattle team 53-19 and had a 10-2 advantage in power plays. Logan Flodell made 52 saves in net for Seattle (2-1).
Winterhawks 4, Silvertips 2
Portland 2 0 2 — 4
Everett 1 1 0 — 2
First Period—1, Portland, Petan 1 (Bjorkstrand), 0:31. 2, Everett, Skrumeda 1 (Nikolishin), 4:07. 3, Portland, Heinrich 3 (Bjorkstrand), 6:37 (pp). Penalties—Jones, Everett (holding), 6:18; Smith, Portland (checking from behind), 7:40; Smith, Portland (fighting-game misconduct), 16:34; Aasman, Everett (fighting-game misconduct), 16:34.
Second Period—4, Everett, Millar 1 (Jones), 10:18. Penalties—Heid, Portland (instigator-fighting-game misconduct), 1:11; Leedahl, Everett (major-checking from behind-fighting-game misconduct), 1:11; Schoenborn, Portland (high sticking), 5:00; Flaman, Portland (hooking), 5:52; Schoenborn, Portland (high sticking), 18:03.
Third Period—5, Portland, Bjorkstrand 3 (Petan), 2:38. 6, Portland, De Leo 1 (Schoenborn, Turgeon), 15:53 (pp). Penalties—Jones, Everett (elbowing), 0:32; Jones, Everett (tripping), 5:53; Flaman, Portland (tripping), 10:35; Viveiros, Portland (hooking), 13:03; Stockl, Everett (high sticking), 13:07; Jones, Everett (tripping), 14:59.
Shots on goal—Portland 8-5-9—22. Everett 13-11-10—34. Power-play opportunities—Portland 2 of 6. Everett 0 of 6.
Goalies—Portland, Bullion 1-0 (34 shots, 32 saves). Everett, Lotz (8 shots, 6 saves), Petit 0-1 (14 shots, 12 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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