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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Prince George – Game #65

James Doyle

After winning their 1,600th game in organization history last night, the Winterhawks conclude their weekend in Prince George tonight. They have a chance to make it six straight wins against the Cougars and sweep the regular season series.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: CN Centre

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 3 at Cougars 2: Portland showed resilience on the road to erase a 2-0 deficit and beat Prince George 3-2. All three Winterhawks goals came on the power play.

The Hawks gave up the first two goals of the game, one coming on the power play from NHL Central Scouting defenseman Cole Moberg and the other from Matéj Toman in the second period.

Portland scrapped one back on the man advantage before the end of the second period. Jake Gricius buried the rebound, his 25th goal of the season. With momentum heading into the intermission, the Hawks won the third period on the road.

Less than three minutes into the third, Paterson batted in a puck mid air to tie the game at 2-2, giving him his second straight 50-point season. With a later power play chance, Joachim Blichfeld one-timed in his ninth game-winning goal of the year and 53rd overall goal of the season.

It was the fifth time this season the Hawks charged back from a deficit after 40 minutes to win the game. The rematch comes on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.

NOTABLES:

  • Joachim Blichfeld took home top star honors for his three-point outing (G-2A). It’s the 27th time in his WHL career he recorded at least three points in a game. He remains at the top of WHL scoring lead with 53 goals and 110 points.
  • Jake Gricius is hot for the Hawks. He now has goals in three straight games, points in four straight, is tied for the team lead with 16 power play goals on the season and has a team-high six points against Prince George. He also finished with three points (G-2A).
  • Josh Paterson records his 30th career multi-point game, giving him four points in his last two road games.
  • Joel Hofer denied 40 shots en route to his 8th win with the Hawks. His 40 saves were the second most in a Winterhawks jersey.
  • It was the first time since December 31st (6-3 Win vs. Seattle) that the Winterhawks scored three power play goals.

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TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

After an important win last night, the Winterhawks are now 15-4-0-0 against B.C. Division opponents and will look for momentum heading into the final week of the regular season.

Special teams play was the story of Friday night with 80% of the goals coming on the man advantage. Prince George is middle of the pack with a penalty kill percentage below 80% and the Hawks jumped up half a percentage point last night after netting three power play goals. Joachim Blichfeld and Jake Gricius are tied for the team lead with 16 power play tallies.

The Cougars played some of their best hockey at home in 2019 last night, but they gave up the lead and now have a six-game losing streak. The Cougars are playing in their second to last home game of the year, and seek their first home win since January 12. That’s now 13 straight home losses.

On the bright side for Prince George, they own two high first round picks (their own and Swift Current’s) in the upcoming Bantam Draft to focus on their rebuild. Seeing as the Portland and Spokane both won last night, the Hawks magic number is now six to clinch home ice in the first round. The earliest they could clinch is Tuesday night when the Hawks return home for one final meeting against Everett.

Join the Winterhawks fans tonight at D’s Brickhouse Pizza and Bar at . It’s the official watch party of tonight’s game and all ages are welcome so bring the family. Everyone in a attendance at the watch party will have a chance to win a game-used stick from alumnus Seth Jones that is signed by the entire 2013 WHL Championship team.

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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