KAMLOOPS — Don Hay remembers the first time he coached at the Sandman Centre, "It was against the Portland Winterhawks, Ken Hodge was their coach --- it was in 1992."
Portland won that game, the very first one played in the Sandman Centre.
A 5-2 win over Portland Friday night was the 742nd win for Hay, to tie Ken Hodge for the alltime career coaching record in the Western Hockey League.
The Blazers opened the scoring with a power play goal at 7:17 of the first when Joe Gatenby fed a perfect cross pass to Connor Zary for his 5th of the season.
Portland tied it on their power play two minutes later. Skyler McKenzie deflected a point shot past Dylan Ferguson.
The Blazers took the lead midway through the second when Travis Walton's shot off the wall was stopped by Cole Kehler and Justin Sigrist cashed in the rebound for his second of the season.
Less than two minutes later Montana Onyebuchi fed to the front of the crease for Jermaine Loewen who tipped in his 22nd of the season for a 3-1 Blazers lead after two.
Portland pulled back to within a goal at 4:12 of the third on a power play with Jake Gricius getting credit after a video review.
At 14:22 Jackson Shepard fed Quinn Benjafield in the slot for his 16th and the Blazers were back ahead by two.
Shepard came a goal short of a Gordie Howe hattrick after a third period fight in which he flattened Matthew Quigley with a right hook.
Portland coach Mike Johnston, looking for his 300th career win, played the low percentage gamble by pulling Kehler for an extra attacker with just under three minutes left.
The Winterhawks turned the puck over in the neurtral zone and Jermaine Loewen had an empty net breakaway for his second of the night and the easiest of his 23 goals this season.
The Blazers win their 4th in a row, defeating the Portland Winterhawks 5-2, as the Blazers get scoring from all four lines.
Don Hay ties a quarter century old record and has a chance to stand alone as the winningest coach in Western Hockey League history when the Blazers host Portland again on Saturday night.
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