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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Prince George – Game #64

Keith Dwiggins

The Winterhawks play in their last road weekend of the season, looking to lock down home ice in the first round and make it six straight wins against Prince George.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: CN Centre

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 3 at Rockets 4: 

After three straight wins against the Rockets, Kelowna finally broke the skid by beating the Hawks 4-3 at home.

The Rockets opened the game with a pair of goals in the first period, but the Hawks buckled down and earned more chances as the game progressed, out-shooting the home team 30 to 19.

With a 2-0 deficit in the second period, Nick Cicek one-timed a point shot that Josh Paterson redirected across the goal line to cut the Rockets’ lead in half. After Kelowna made it a 3-1 game, Portland was given over six minutes of power play time and they cashed in again to cut the lead down to one.

After the media timeout of the third period, Brendan De Jong drilled in a blue line wrister, again on the power play, to tie the game at 3-3. Kelowna responded with a goal of its own 15 seconds later and the Hawks were unable to tie the game in the final five minutes despite getting a lot of pucks toward the net.

NOTABLES:

  • Josh Paterson finished with a goal and an assist, his third and fourth points against Kelowna this year and 29th career multi-point game.
  • Jake Gricius scored back-to-back power play goals this weekend. Portland scored four special teams goals this weekend.
  • Joachim Blichfeld continued to increase his point lead in the WHL with a power play assist. He now has 107 points.
  • Brendan De Jong (injury) nets his first goal since January 19. It was his first goal on the road since he netted the overtime winner against Vancouver in October.
  • The Hawks are 14-4-0-0 against B.C. Division opponents this year.

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TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

The Winterhawks made their annual trip to Prince George to play their final two games against B.C. Division opponents this weekend. Exactly three months ago, the Hawks beat the Cougars 5-2 and 3-0 at home.

Prince George has endured a rough season. They lost 17 straight games (0-13-3-1) in 2019, they fired Head Coach Richard Matvichuk and the Cougars will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Now with General Manager Mark Lamb serving as the interim head coach for the remainder of the regular season, the Cougars are looking to find light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Fortunately for the Cougars, they still have a good corp of players eligible to return next season. Nineteen year old Josh Maser tied his career high, set last year, with 28 goals and he enters the weekend with goals in six straight contests. The Houston, BC native is pushing Vladislav Mikhalchuk for the team’s points lead considering Mikhalchuk was held off the scoresheet his last eight games.

Cole Moberg is a draft eligible defenseman for the Cougars who has potted points in nine of 11 February games for the last place team. In net, Prince George has relied upon its former first round bantam pick Taylor Gauthier. The 6-foot-2 goaltender has garnered a handful of NHL interest, but it has been a tough 2019 for Gauthier. He’s allowed four of more goals in his last four starts, getting the early exit in two of them. His best game in February came on the road in Kamloops when he stopped 41 of 42 en route to a 2-1 shootout win.

On the Hawks side, their magic number is eight to clinch home ice in the first round. Spokane has a game in hand and they host the Vancouver Giants tonight who have won 22 of their last 26 games.

Join the Rosebuds and the Winterhawks fans tonight at the Buffalo Wild Wings Beaverton location. It’s the official watch party of the night. The Hawks next home game is Tuesday, March 12 against the Everett Silvertips at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Please visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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