Hawks Blank Blazers 3-0 in Season Opener
Gabe Klassen scored twice and Dante Giannuzzi picked up a 24-save shutout as Portland opened its season with a bang, knocking off the Kamloops Blazers 3-0 on the road on Friday. Marcus Nguyen grabbed the other tally for the Winterhawks.
Klassen initially capitalized on an early power play, finishing off some beautiful rush passing for his first of the year just 1:34 into the contest. Robbie Fromm-Delorme dished to a streaking Jack O'Brien in the middle lane at the offensive blue line, who then slid a backhand pass across the crease to a wide-open Klassen on the back door.
O'Brien picked up his second primary helper of the day as he set up Nguyen's strike five minutes into the second period. As O'Brien skated left-to-right into the offensive zone, he dropped the puck to the waiting Nguyen, who then wired a wrist shot over the glove of Kamloops' Dylan Ernst to double the Hawks' lead.
As Giannuzzi helped the Hawks weather five penalty kills, including two in the third period, Portland capped off its win with another Klassen tally at 17:14 of the final frame with assists from Kyle Chyzowski and Ryder Thompson.
Giannuzzi's shutout was the fourth of his career and the first for a Winterhawks goaltender on opening night since Ian Curtis stopped 24 shots in a 5-0 win over Seattle on Sept. 19, 2009 (via Andy Kemper).
The Winterhawks now head to Kelowna to take on the Rockets tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT presented by BBF TECHNOLOGIES:
"I thought we came out flying. I thought the first two periods were really great. They had a little more pressure in the third, but in the first two periods, I thought we were outstanding at making plays, and the young guys showed some poise out there."
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