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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Saskatoon – Game #43

Dayna Fjord

After an entertaining Friday night game, the Winterhawks focus their attention on the Saskatoon Blades, a team that has won three straight games against the Hawks.

Puck Drop: 5:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. CT

Venue: SaskTel Centre

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 2 vs. Raiders 4: The Winterhawks battled to the end, but lose 4-2 against the Eastern Conference’s top team.

The start of Friday night’s game certainly lived up to the hype with the two best offensive teams in the Western Hockey League teams finding the back of the net a couple of times. Seth Jarvis found the first goal of the quick-paced game with a walking shot in the slot to beat Ian Scott short side. In response a few minutes later, Joel Hofer made a dazzling stop in the first half of the period to keep the Hawks on top.

The Raiders got rolling after the media timeout, scoring a pair of goals in a five-minute stretch to take their first lead of the game at 2-1. The Winterhawks responded with a few chances of their own and drew a 5-on-3 power play. Cody Glass found Jake Gricius on the opposite post in the 17th minute of the game to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the intermission.

Despite 17 total shots in the second period, neither team was able to score, setting up a dramatic finish to the night.

Nearing the midway point of the final period, Brett Leason skate wide on the right wing and worked himself into a position to get a puck on net and it found its way through to give the Raiders the lead again. Portland made a push, but could not convert with the extra attacker.

Prince Albert scored an insurance marker of an empty net goal to beat the Winterhawks 4-2, ending their six game winning streak. The Hawks take on the Blades Saturday night at 5:00 pm PST before heading home.

TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

The second place teams in the East and West face-off tonight in the only meeting of the season. The Blades beat the Winterhawks 4-0 last year at the Moda Center with the help of Josh Paterson’s three point night (G, 2A). Now, the former Blades alternate captain will skate for the Winterhawks against his former team.

In his Winterhawks debut last night, Paterson did not make in on the scoresheet, but he was effective in front of one of the league’s best goaltenders. Saturday night could very well be the 19 year old’s last game inside the SaskTel Centre since the Blades will play in Portland next season.

In a similar juncture, Ryan Hughes will face his former team tonight just days after being traded. Hughes scored in his first game with the Blades, increasing their lead to 3-1, but Saskatoon eventually lost to Calgary 4-3 in overtime. It will certainly be an emotional game for both players.

Joel Hofer was recognized as the second star of the game last night for his 23-save effort and birthday boy Shane Farkas is expected to man the crease tonight against the Blades. Last year, Farkas turned aside 38 shots, only to be outmatched by Nolan Maier’s 48-save night.

With Gricius’ power play goal on Friday, he now has a career-high seven game point streak. Seth Jarvis has also scored half of his season’s goal in the last seven games. Following the game tonight, the Hawks play five straight home games and seven of their next eight in the City of Roses.

January 19th will be the Winterhawks’ next home game when they take on Everett in the sunset game at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The puck is set to drop at 5:00 p.m. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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