Portland Winterhawks

Hawks Win OT Thriller 5-4 Over Victoria

March 2, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Portland Winterhawks News Release

Portland, Ore. - James Stefan scored just 27 seconds into overtime on a wrist shot from the right circle to cap off the comeback as the Winterhawks topped the Victoria Royals 5-4 on Saturday night.

Portland's record now stands at 41-15-2-1 on the year (85pts, 1st U.S. Division) and the team has won back-to-back contests.

The 20-year-old sniper wasted little time ending the game after Portland erased multiple third-period deficits, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle past Braden Holt for his 42nd goal of the campaign.

Josh Zakreski earned first-star honors for the second consecutive night with two goals in Saturday's win. The Saskatoon, Sask. native opened the game's scoring with a rebound tally 6:22 into the contest, then kicked off Portland's comeback with a nifty tuck off the rush at 4:45 in the third.

Between Zakreski's goals, Victoria opened up a 3-1 lead. Tyson Laventure and Cole Reschny had the visitors ahead through 20 minutes, then Casper Evensen Haugen struck early in the third to widen the gap.

Jack O'Brien scored 41 seconds after Zakreski's second goal, wiring a wrister into the top corner from the left circle on a rush play at 5:26. But just 1:22 later, Reschny's second of the night restored Victoria's lead. The Royals held strong until 14:09, when Marcus Nguyen broke free on a shorthanded breakaway to knot things up at four and force overtime.

Jan Špunar finished with 16 saves on 20 shots, while Holt stopped 37 of 42 for the Royals.

The Winterhawks are back in action on the road this Tuesday against Kamloops before returning home for Oregon Hockey History Night on Saturday, March 9.


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