Tonight, the Winterhawks play their eighth and final game against the Tri-City Americans this regular season. The Hawks are officially in the final month of the season with seven of their last ten games coming on the road before playoffs.
Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m.
Venue: Toyota Center
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 5 vs. Giants 3: The Portland Winterhawks wrapped up holiday weekend with their third consecutive win, stunting the Giants 5-3 on the road. The Winterhawks sweep the regular season series against the B.C. Division-leading Giants, winning all four regular season meetings and outscoring them 15-7 in those games.
Joachim Blichfeld stole the show for the second consecutive night with his second consecutive hat trick and fifth of his WHL career. Thanks to the natural hat trick, Blichfeld became the first player in the Western Hockey League to reach the century mark in points. It was his second consecutive four point performance.
The power play played a part in the win with the Hawks cashing in on two more special teams goals, giving them five total on the weekend. Once the Hawks jumped out to a three-goal cushion, the Giants could never get the game back within one.
Portland has a pair of road games in the U.S. Division next weekend starting Friday night in Kennewick, WA.
- Josh Paterson connected on two primary assists in the win, giving him four points in his last two games.
- Seth Jarvis finished with a goal and assist in the third period, giving him five multi-point game in the WHL.
- Ten different Hawks recorded at least one point in the win.
- Shane Farkas improves to 5-0-0-0 in his WHL career against Vancouver.
The Tri-City Americans hopped the Spokane Chiefs in the U.S. Division standings entering the weekend and saw their magic number drop to 10 for clinching a spot in the playoffs.
The Americans have won six of the seven meetings thus far this season and the Hawks will be looking for their first win of the year at the Toyota Center. In the last head-to-head meeting earlier this month, Portland squandered a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play so a key to success tonight is going to be to play a complete 60 minute game.
With the exception of a road loss in Kamloops, the Americans have scored four or more goals in seven of their last eight contests, including a pair of seven goal efforts. Former Anaheim Ducks draft pick Kyle Olson has a hot hand with points in ten of his last 11 games (6G-14A). Over a similar stretch, Parker AuCoin has goals in eight of his last nine games, including a nine game point streak (11G-8A).
Joachim Blichfeld is coming off a monster nine point weekend and it could bode well against the Americans seeing as he leads the Hawks with ten points against them. Seeing as this is the final meeting (until possibly playoffs), it would benefit the Hawks to earn some confidence and momentum from this Friday night match-up. There is still plenty of time for things to change, but as of today, this is a potential first round playoff preview with the No.2 and No.3 team in the division facing off.
The Hawks next home game is coming up on Friday. March 1 against the Spokane Chiefs at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Please visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.