Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Everett– Second Round, Game #1
Portland at Everett– Second Round, Game #1 – 7:35 p.m – Everett, WA
Tickets for Games 3 and 4 in Portland:
Game 3: https://bit.ly/2JeAGlI
Game 4: https://bit.ly/2GwcUUr
Let the Second Round begin! The Winterhawks and Silvertips begin Round 2 tonight at the Angel of the Wings Arena in Everett, WA. The Silvertips took down the Thunderbirds in five games in the opening round. While, Portland is coming off an incredible seven game series, where they beat Spokane. This will be the sixth time these two teams have met in the playoffs.
PREVIOUS GAME: Kieffer Bellows scored the game-winning goal with just 4:39 remaining in the third period to break a 1-1 tie, and the Winterhawks went on to beat the Chiefs 3-1.
With the victory, the Hawks win the best-of-seven series 4-3, and advance to the second-round to take on the Everett Silvertips.
Portland got on the board first in the opening frame, with Cody Glass tipping home a Skyler McKenzie shot on the powerplay to make it 1-0. Portland would hold that lead into the second period. In the middle frame, Ty Smith fired a shot from the blueline that bounced off a Winterhawks player infront and past Cole Kehler to tie things at one.
The game would remain tied into the third period. Both Cole Kehler and Chiefs netminder Dawson Weatherill made several big saves to keep the game knotted at one. But with under five minutes remaining in the third, Cody Glass found Kieffer Bellows in the slot, and he fired it past Weatherill to give Portland a one-goal lead. After a Zach Fischer penalty gave Portland a powerplay, Bellows nearly scored on a partial-breakaway, but Skyler McKenzie was there to bang in the rebound to make it 3-1 Winterhawks. The Chiefs would pull Weatherill late but it wasn’t enough, as the Hawks held on for the 3-1 victory. Cole Kehler picked up the win and made 30 saves on the night.
With the win, the Hawks defeat the Chiefs 4-3 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: The Silvertips were the U.S. Division Champions during this year’s regular season and the number one team in the Western Conference. Everett, being the number one seed, will have home-ice advantage in the second round, and will host the first two games of the series on home-ice.
When talking about the current installment of the Silvertips, you should always start the conversation with their goaltender. Carter Hart, a draft-pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, is arguably the best goalie in the CHL. Hart led the WHL in goals-against-average, save percentage, and shutouts this season. Earlier this week, he was named the WHL’s Goaltender of the Month for the fourth time this season. Against Portland this season, Hart was only 3-3-0-0, but did put up a 1.83 GAA and a .948 SV%. The Hawks scored three-or-more goals in six of their seven games against Spokane, but against Hart, Portland will be facing a tougher challenge than they saw against Spokane.
Upfront, the Silvertips are led by a top-six that includes Patrick Bajkov, Matt Fonteyne, Garret Pilon and Connor Dewar. All four players had over 30 goals and 65 points this season for Everett. Over-age forward Bajkov led all ‘Tips in scoring with 100 points, becoming one of just nine players in the WHL to reach the century mark this season. 18-year old forward, Dewar, led Everett in goals this season with 38, after recording just 14 last season.
During the first round of the postseason against Seattle, Bajkov and Pilon led the Silvertips with four goals each. While Fonteyne and Dewar both had eight points in five games. Bajkov led all Silvertips in regular season scoring against Portland, recording five goals and 12 points in 10 games.
On the backend, the addition of hulking D-man Ondrej Vala proved a wise-move. Vala added some size and skill to a blueline that already included offensive standout Kevin Davis. Davis, in his final year in the WHL, recorded 65 points in 71 games this season for Everett.
For Everett, making the postseason has become common-place, as this is the 15th straight season advancing to the playoffs, which is every year of their existence. However, the Silvertips have gotten past the second round just twice in those 15 seasons, and haven’t done it since 2006.
Everett was solid on home-ice during the regular season, going 25-8-2-1, which was the 5th best mark in the Western Hockey League.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: The Winterhawks held an ever so slight edge in the season series with Everett this year, going 5-4-0-1 in the 10 games between the two teams. Portland also took the last two contests, shutting out the Silvertips 3-0 and 2-0 on January 31st and March 11th, both times in Portland.
Since we’re on the topic of shutouts, we might as well talk about the goaltender who registered those two donuts, Cole Kehler. Kehler had strong numbers against the Silvertips, going 5-3-0-1 with a 2.47 GAA, .924 SV% and those two shutouts. In the opening round, Kehler allowed three-or-less goals in four of the seven games, including a massive 30-save victory in Game 7, where he allowed just one goal.
That Game 7 also included strong performances from every Hawks forward on the number one line. Cody Glass had a goal and two assists, Kieffer Bellows had the game-winning goal and an assist, while Skyler McKenzie had the insurance marker and an assist as well. During the regular season, that trio put up the biggest numbers versus Everett. Glass led the Hawks in points with 13 in 10 games. While McKenzie and Bellows both had seven goals against the Silvertips.
In the opening round, we also saw the defense of Portland step up offensively. Dennis Cholowski led all Hawks in goals with four, while Henri Jokiharju had seven points in seven games, including two goals. Keoni Texeira had an extremely strong series for Portland. The Winterhawks captain was a force at both ends of the ice, recording three assists and was a physical presence all series long.
For Portland, they will look to carry over their regular season road success into postseason versus the Silvertips. The Hawks took three of the five games they played in Everett during the season, and won two of their three games on the road in the opening road against Spokane.
STAT OF THE DAY: This will be the sixth time in Winterhawks’ franchise history that they have met Everett in the postseason. Below is a list of the previous five series.
|2015-16||Western Conference Quarter Final||4-0 Everett|
|2014-15||Western Conference Semi-Final||4-1 Portland|
|2012-13||Western Conference Quarter Final||4-2 Portland|
|2010-11||Western Conference Quarter Final||4-0 Portland|
|2004-05||U.S. Division First Round||4-3 Everett|
4/6/18 – Game 1 – Portland at Everett
4/7/18 – Game 2 – Portland at Everett
4/10/18 – Game 3 – Everett at Portland
4/12/18 – Game 4 – Everett at Portland
*4/13/18 – Game 5 – Portland at Everett
*4/15/18 – Game 6 – Everett at Portland
*4/17/18 – Game 7 – Portland at Everett