Portland Winterhawks defenseman Taylor Aronson scored the overtime winner Friday as the Winterhawks (13-2-0-1) defeated the visiting Red Deer Rebels (11-6-1-0) 4-3 in front of 4,113 fans at the Memorial Coliseum.
Aronson’s goal extended the Winterhawks’ winning streak to seven games, and kept Portland atop the WHL standings with 27 points.
Red Deer opened the scoring with two goals in a span of 1:30 early in the first period, with Andrej Kudrna notching the first followed by Justin Weller to make it 2-0. Later in the period Portland forward Brad Ross delivered a big hit behind the Winterhawks’ net, which sparked a rush the other way. Ross got the puck, passed it behind the Red Deer defense to Derrick Pouliot, who cut across the crease and slid it under Rebels netminder Darcy Kuemper’s stick for his first career goal.
Portland tied the game 7:26 into the second period on a delayed Red Deer penalty, as Oliver Gabriel scored his second goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2. Red Deer would regain the lead at the 16:11 mark on a goal by Daulton Siwak to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The Winterhawks kept up pressure through much of the third period, finally breaking through at the 17:46 mark when Sven Bartschi fired a shot from the left faceoff circle past Kuemper to tie the game at 3-3 and set up overtime. The goal included an assist from Ty Rattie, which allowed both players to extend their point streaks to 10 games apiece.
Before Aronson’s winner, Winterhawks forward Brad Ross was awarded a penalty shot in the extra frame after being hauled down from behind on a breakaway, but his penalty shot attempt rang off the goal post.
Mac Carruth got the win in net for Portland, improving to 7-1. The battle in net between Carruth and Kuemper featured the top two goalies in the league, as they entered the game 1-2 in both goals against average and save percentage, with Carruth first in each category.
The Winterhawks are back on the ice tomorrow when they host the Everett Silvertips at the Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m.