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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Kamloops – Game #5

Ben Ludeman

The team makes its first trip of the season to the Northern Country for a pair of games against the Kamloops Blazers. Fresh off a 4-2 weekend win against Seattle, the Winterhawks are looking to continue that momentum into British Columbia.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 4 vs Thunderbirds 2:  The Moda Center came to life on Saturday night as the Winterhawks beat the Thunderbirds in their home opener by a final score of 4-2. Portland scored three power play goals to ring home their first victory of the season.

The Portland Winterhawks opened the first period with a a bang. In front of a crowd of 8,208, Portland found its energy early and rattled off 16 shots in the first 20 minutes. Jake Gricius cashed in on his second power play goal of the season at the 17:04 mark of the first. The Colorado native joined the rush on the right side and snapped a wrist shot over Liam Hughes’ glove.

The rivalry between Portland and Seattle did not disappoint in the second period. Each team found the back of the net once and they combined for 45 penalty minutes and three game misconducts. Seattle tied the game 12 seconds into the second period on Zack Andrusiak’s second goal of the season. A little over eight minutes later, the Winterhawks would strike on the power play again. This time it was Reece Newkirk netting his third goal of the weekend as he cashed in on a free puck left wing side to regain the lead for the Hawks.

Jared Freadrich, skating in his 200th regular season WHL game, banked home the team’s third power play goal to give Portland a little separation. Seattle would draw one back at the midway point of the frame, but the Winterhawks got the final say with an empty net goal to seal the victory.

Freadrich led all skates with four points (1-3-4) and captured the first star honors. Cody Glass collected career assists 148, 149 and 150 in tonight’s game and Joachim Blichfeld joined the three point party with a goal and two assists of his own.

TODAY’S OPPONENT:

The Blazers (2-2-0-0) return home for just the second time this year. Kamloops opened the 2018-19 season at home with a 3-1 victory against the Kelowna Rockets two weeks ago.

Wednesday night’s game is a homecoming for Winterhawks Assistant Coach Don Hay. The native of Kamloops spent 13 seasons coaching the Blazers and will face his former club yet again. Entering the midweek game ranked fourth in the B.C. Division, the Blazers will be hungry to spoil Hay’s return to the Sandman Centre.

The team’s two leading forward scorers were on different WHL teams last spring. Eighteen year old winger Orrin Centazzo is off to a sensational start to the season. Through four games, the Alberta native has seven points (1-6–7) to pace the Blazers. Last season, Centazzo registered 11 points in 40 regular season games with the Everett Silvertips. Former Lethbridge Hurricanes winger Zane Franklin leads the way with three goals through September.

Defensively, the Blazers got a massive boost in September with the return of 20-year-old goaltender and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Dylan Ferguson. After the first week of play in the WHL, Ferguson was recognized as the WHL Eli Wilson Goaltender of the Week. The fourth year veteran sports a 2.53 goals against average and .927 save percentage to accompany his 2-2-0 record. He’s stopped 25 of 26 shots at home ice this year.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WHL:

Besides the game Wednesday night, Kamloops is on the Western Hockey League radar for another reason. The league is set to announce the host of the 2020 Memorial Cup later this afternoon. Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison will announce the host site for the 2020 Memorial Cup at the conclusion of the WHL Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:40 p.m. PDT.

Kamloops, Kelowna and Lethbridge are three of the WHL organizations with active bids in the running.

The Winterhawks next home game is Wednesday, October 10th at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Individual tickets are now on sale. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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