Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Prince George – Game #66
Portland (40-20-1-4) at Prince George (23-34-4-4) – 7:00 p.m. – CN Centre, Prince George, BC
The Hawks take on Prince George for the first time since November 1st tonight in the first game of a back-to-back with the Cougars. Portland is looking to make it seven-straight games with a point.
PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 7 at Seattle 4: Kieffer Bellows recorded his first career Western Hockey League hat-trick as Portland took down Seattle 7-4 in Kent.
Portland got things started early, with Bellows finishing off a gorgeous passing play from Cody Glass and Skyler McKenzie. Portland then went up 2-0 on a goal from Jake Gricius at 5:25 into the period, his 13th of the season. Cody Glass extended the Hawks lead to three when he beat Dorrin Luding for his 34th of the year with just under 10 minutes left in the period. Seattle would add one late to make it 3-1 after 20 minutes. Shane Farkas had his shutout streak snapped at 168 minutes on the Seattle goal.
In the third, Bellows picked up his second goal of the night on the powerplay to give Portland a 4-1 lead. Under three minutes later, it was Bellows again tipping home a Henri Jokiharju shot for his third of the night. On the goal, Glass picked up his third assist of the night and fourth point. Seattle would chip in another to make it 5-2 after two periods.
In the third, Nolan Volcan buried his second of the night 10:12 into the period to make it 5-3. Then, Zach Andrusiak potted his 30th of the season to make it a one goal game with just over three minutes to play. But Ryan Hughes would bury an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining to put the game away. A late marker from Brendan De Jong would make it a 7-4 final.
Shane Farkas made 32 saves to record his eighth straight win. Portland improved to 40-20-1-4 on the season. The contest was also Head Coach Mike Johnston’s 500th career regular season game behind the bench in the WHL.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: Prince George enters tonight sitting last in the B.C. Division but have been playing some good hockey as of late. The Cougars have won three of their last four games, including beating the B.C. Division leading Kelowna Rockets twice this past Tuesday and Wednesday.
Goaltender Taylor Gauthier has been solid for the Cougars, allowing three-or-less goals in four of his last six starts. Gauthier is coming off a 31-save effort on Friday, when he allowed just one goal in a victory against the Royals.
Over-age forward Brogan O’Brien had a strong previous week for the Cougars, registering three goals and seven points in four games for Prince George. On the season, O’Brien has 33 points in 45 games, as well as three short-handed goals.
Leading the way offensively for Prince George is another over-age forward in Jared Bethune. He’s just below a point-per-game player, registering 63 points in 64 games this season. Upfront for the Cougars are two familiar faces for Hawks fans in Ilijah Colina and Connor Bowie. Colina has 12 points in 23 games for Prince George since coming over in a trade for Dennis Cholowski, while Bowie has played in five games for the Cougars.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Yesterday, both Shane Farkas and Cody Glass were named Players of the Week in the WHL. Farkas went 3-0-0-0 with two shutouts last week for Portland. In 2018 now, the Penticton-born Farkas is 10-1-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA, .941 SV%. and three shutouts.
Cody Glass put up five goals and five assists in four games last week to land his Player of the Week honors. Glass is on a seven-game point streak and has recorded a multi-point games in five straight. Glass is coming off a four-point effort on Sunday against Seattle.
Kieffer Bellows enters tonight on a six-game point streak, recording nine goals and three assists over that span. Bellows put up his first career WHL hat-trick on Sunday against Seattle.
Dennis Cholowski of course will be returning to his former team tonight in the Cougars. Cholowski spent 37 games with the Cougars earlier this season and was their captain, before being acquired by the Hawks at the trade deadline.
STAT OF THE DAY: The Winterhawks hold a winning record all-time on the road against the Cougars, going 31-29-1-4-2 in franchise history here in Prince George.
Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 1-1-0-0 Cougars: 1-1-0-0
This Year’s Season Series:
10/01/17 – Prince George 3 @ Portland 0
11/01/17 – Prince George 1 @ Portland 2
03/06/18 – Portland @ Prince George
03/07/18 – Portland @ Prince George
Portland has one more road game tomorrow night here in Prince George before they return home Saturday, March 10th, to take on the Tri-City Americans. On that night, the Winterhawks will be honoring the 1998 Memorial Cup winning team. Grab your tickets HERE!