EVERETT — The Portland Winterhawks are well-known for their prolific offense.
But it might be the goaltender position where they are underrated.
Overage netminder Cole Kehler saved 43 of the 44 shots he saw as the Winterhawks snapped the Everett Silvertips’ three-game winning streak with a 3-1 win before 7,887 fans on “Pink the Rink” Night at Xfinity Arena.
“I thought we played well enough to win a hockey game,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “That’s a good hockey club over there. You can’t take them lightly. They have some players on the front and the back end that can be a difference makers, but that was a pretty big hockey game for 60 minutes.”
Kehler, who leads the WHL in save percentage and goals-against average, was nearly flawless. The win for Portland (12-4, 24 points) avenged a 3-2 Everett victory last Sunday in the Rose City.
Everett fell to 7-10-1 (15 points).
The Tips once again struggled on the power play. They finished 0-for-6 on the man advantage Saturday and are 0-for-21 dating back to their 3-1 win at Kamloops on Oct. 27.
“We’re going to have to revisit (the power play) and see if we need to shuffle it up,” Williams said. “Again, it’s just been the last three games. We’ve been pretty good up to that point, but it’s definitely something of interest that we have to look at tomorrow.”
Everett also struggled to find the net at full strength. The Tips finished with 44 shots while Portland tallied 42.
“We’re getting our opportunities so I’m happy with that,” Williams said. “I’d be more upset if we weren’t getting them, and getting 20-25 shots a game. But we just have to grip the stick and bury a few, or lighten up the grip so that it all comes together.”
Carter Hart was the tough-luck loser in net for the Tips. He finished with 39 saves on 41 shots faced.
Alex Overhardt snapped a 1-1 tie when he knocked the puck past Hart during a netfront scramble at 9:06 in the third period. Skyler McKenzie’s empty-netter at 18:49 iced the game for Portland.
Everett never led in the contest.
Sean Richards redirected Jake Christiansen’s point shot at 1:06 in the third period as Everett tied the game 1-1.
Everett had previously closed the second period with a flurry of opportunities. The Tips had several great looks at the end of their fourth power play, but couldn’t get the puck past Kehler. Portland took a 1-0 lead into the third period.
“I think we can do a little better job adjusting angles, adjusting pucks and changing our angles,” Williams said. “Maybe sometimes shooting it off the pads for second and third chances. But their goalies are playing well, and that’s what you get in this league.”
Everett also came up empty on a four-minute double minor power play midway through the opening period.
Portland took advantage of an Everett turnover behind its own net to take the lead in the first period.
McKenzie dug the puck out from the end boards and found Kieffer Bellows in the slot. Bellows’ wrister beat Hart and gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 16:40.
“That was disheartening for the guys, but something we can definitely learn from and again there’s a lot of positives we can take from the game,” Williams said.
The Tips are off until Friday and Saturday when they play back-to-back games at Prince George.
Winterhawks 3, Silvertips 1
Portland 1 0 2 — 3
Everett 0 0 1 — 1
1st Period—1, Portland, Bellows 13 (McKenzie), 16:40. Penalties—Glass Por (high sticking, high sticking), 6:56; Sutter Evt (checking from behind), 12:15.
2nd Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Ludvig Por (major-fighting), 7:57; Onyebuchi Evt (major-fighting), 7:57; Sharp Por (hooking), 10:11; Blichfeld Por (slashing), 16:36.
3rd Period—2, Everett, Richards 4 (Christiansen), 1:06. 3, Portland, Overhardt 5 (Kolle, MacEachern), 9:05. 4, Portland, McKenzie 13 (Glass), 18:49 (EN). Penalties—Texeira Por (interference), 13:03; De Jong Por (interference), 19:18.
Shots on Goal—Portland 15-16-11-42. Everett 11-15-18-44.
Power Play Opportunities—Portland 0 / 1; Everett 0 / 6.
Goalies—Portland, Kehler 10-2-0-0 (44 shots-43 saves). Everett, Hart 2-2-0-0 (41 shots-39 saves).