Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Prince George – Game #67

Chad Baker

Portland (41-20-1-4) at Prince George (23-35-4-4) – 7:00 p.m. – CN Centre, Prince George, BC


The Hawks and Cougars face off for the fourth and final time this season tonight in Prince George. Portland currently leads the season series 2-1-0-0. Portland has registered points in seven straight games (6-0-0-1).

PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 4 at Cougars 3: Ty Kolle scored with just over three minutes remaining in regulation to give Portland a 4-3 victory over Prince George on Tuesday.

The Hawks got off to a great start, with Joachim Blichfeld burying his 23rd of the season just before the six-minute mark of the first period. Then, with under a minute left in the frame, Reece Newkirk wired home his 7th of the year to give Portland a 2-0 lead.

In the second, Portland continued to press but Cougars goaltender Taylor Gauthier made several big saves. Late in the frame, Prince George scored twice in 18 seconds to tie things at two after 40 minutes.

Just over two minutes into the third period, Skyler McKenzie beat Gauthier five-hole to give Portland a lead once again. For McKenzie, it was his 42nd goal of the season, tying his career high that he set last year. But Prince George was resilient, tying things up just 51 seconds later on a goal from Ilijah Colina. With under four minutes remaining in regulation, Lane Gilliss found Ty Kolle at the left-circle, who then buried his 7th of the season to give the Hawks the late lead.

Cole Kehler would hold off the Cougars final push with an empty-net, to give Portland the 4-3 victory.

TODAY’S OPPONENT: The Cougars came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in last night’s game against Portland but couldn’t come away with the Victory. Tonight is the sixth straight home game for Prince George, so far they are 3-2 during their homestand.

With an assist last night, Vladislav Mikhalchuk now has four points in three games versus Portland to lead all Cougars. Forward Josh Maser registered his team-leading 27th goal of the season in yesterday’s game. The 18-year old forward now has four points over his last five games.

Taylor Gauthier made 39 saves in a losing effort for the Cougars last night. Gauthier was solid most of the night, keeping Prince George close right until the final horn. Gauthier has won three of his last four starts for the Cougars. Goaltender Tavin Grant did not play last night, but has twice faced off again Portland this season and is 1-1-0-0 with a .978 SV% and a shutout.

WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Cody Glass has an eight-game point streak entering tonight. Over that span, Glass has registered 16 points for the Hawks. Glass is sitting on 90 points for the season, just four off his career high of 94 he set last year.

With the win last night, Cole Kehler is now 2-0-0-0 against Prince George this season with a 2.01 GAA and a .926 SV%. Dating back to last year’s first-round postseason matchup with the Cougars, Kehler has now won his last five starts again Prince George.

Jake Gricius and Lane Gilliss both enter tonight’s game with season long point streaks. Gricius has been on the score-sheet in four straight, while Gilliss has points in three in a row.

STAT OF THE DAY: Since February 1st, Cody Glass has registered 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 15 games, good for the sixth most points in the WHL during that span.

Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:

Winterhawks: 2-1-0-0                  Cougars: 1-2-0-0

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 4 @ Prince George 3

03/07/18 – Portland @ Prince George

Portland returns 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!

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