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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Spokane – Game #49

Keith Dwiggins

The Winterhawks make their last trip to Spokane this regular season with the two teams separated by six games in the standings. The Hawks are 2-1 against Spokane this season, scoring 17 goals in those three games.

Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m.

Venue: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 3 vs. Hurricanes 0: The Portland Winterhawks won their 30th games of the season, shutting out Lethbridge 3-0 on Sunday evening. Joel Hofer secured his second shutout of the year, first with the Winterhawks, stopping 37 shots in the win.

After a scoreless first, Portland struck three times in the second period to gain the lead. Jake Gricius netted the team’s first two goals of the night and Seth Jarvis scored the last goal of the game. After a defensive third period, Portland captured its fourth overall shutout of the season and the first since January 5 in Moose Jaw.

Tonight was the Winterhawks’ Billet Appreciation Night and the team honored their second families with a strong showing to close the weekend. The Portland crowd brought the energy to close out the night and can welcome their Hawks back home on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against Vancouver.

NOTABLES:

  • It was the fourth time this season Gricius scored multiple goals in a game. His second period goal was shorthanded.
  • Seth Jarvis scored to increase his point streak to three straight games.
  • The Winterhawks scored three goals on seven second-period shots, meanwhile Joel Hofer turned aside all 18 shots he faced in the middle period.
  • The Hawks have only allowed eight goals in their last five games (four wins during that stretch).
  • With the win, the Winterhawks extend their point streak against Lethbridge to 11 straight games. Their last regulation loss against the Alberta based team was in 2007.

TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

Spokane is in the midst of a slide, losing their last five games and allowing Tri-City to hurdle them in the standings. Offense has been the biggest issue for the Chiefs seeing as they scored just three times in their last four games. But Spokane is home for a healthy chunk of play heading into February and they are a far superior team at home (15-6-0-2 at home compared to 9-11-2-1 on the road).

Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen have split the time in net, though Klassen’s numbers have been a tick better since he was acquired from Lethbridge. Klassen has a sub 2.00 goals against average and a .920 save percentage with his new team.

Co-captain Jaret Anderson-Dolan has missed well over half the season due to time in the NHL and a lower body injury, but he is putting together a strong January. In nine games this month, the Los Angeles Kings product has two goals and nine assists. Rookie Adam Beckman enters the contest tied for first among WHL rookies in goals (19), while Portland’s Seth Jarvis comes in at third place on the list in goal scoring (14).

Something to keep an eye on during tonight’s game is the special teams match-up. Spokane leads the Western Hockey League in power play play percentage, but are near the bottom in penalty kill numbers. This could bode well for the Hawks who are 0/22 on the man advantage in their last four games.

The two teams will face one another against on Saturday in Portland, so this week could be a taste of a potential playoff series pending the final 20 games of the season.

The Hawks return home on Friday for a key Western Division match-up against the Vancouver Giants. The game will be played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum with the puck set to drop at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability for tonight’s game.

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