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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Tri-City – Game #41

Chad Baker

Portland (24-13-1-2) at Tri-City (22-13-5-0) – 7:00 p.m. – Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA

Listen: http://winterhawks.com/listen

The Winterhawks take on the Americans for the fourth time this season tonight. Portland has won two of first three meetings. The one time Portland visited Kennewick this season went to overtime, where Skyler McKenzie scoring the game-winner.

PREVIOUS GAME RECAP – PORTLAND 3 at SEATTLE 2 (SO): For the third straight game, the Winterhawks and Thunderbirds went into extra-time, with Ryan Hughes eventually scoring the shootout winner to give Portland a 3-2 win.

The Hawks got one the board first on a pretty passing play from Cody Glass to Ryan Hughes with Skyler McKenzie eventually going five-hole on Seattle goalie Liam Hughes. Alex Overhardt created a turnover late in the frame and scored while falling with just 2 seconds remaining in the period to give Portland 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

In the second, Seattle came back with a pair of their own, to make it a 2-2 game after two periods.

Both teams battled hard in the third frame but with neither squad able to convert. The teams then headed to overtime for the third straight game between the two teams. The Hawks held Seattle shot-less in the extra-frame but could not solve Seattle’s Hughes.

In the shootout, Portland’s Ryan Hughes buried a backhander and Cole Kehler stopped all three Thunderbirds shooters to give the Hawks the 3-2 win.

TODAY’S OPPONENT: The Hawks weren’t the only team to acquire a big-name defenseman at the deadline. The Americans picked up d-man Jake Bean from the Calgary Hitmen and is expected to make his Tri-City debut tonight.

The Americans are two points back of Portland for second in the U.S. Division. They’re coming off a 4-0 loss to the Silvertips on Tuesday. Leading the way offensively is Morgan Geekie with 48 points. Jordan Topping has the most goals among Tri-City players with 21 goals in 40 games.

Both Juuso Valimaki and Michael Rasmussen are dealing with injuries and are unlikely to play tonight for the Americans.

WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Both Dennis Cholowski and Lukus MacKenzie are expected to make their Winterhawks debuts tonight in Kennewick. Cholowksi is sixth in the WHL in points among defenseman and second in goals.

Ryan Hughes enter tonight on a career-high six game point streak. He has seven points over that span including two goals. Skyler McKenzie has nine goals in his last nine games and is tied for the lead among all Winterhawks goals against the Americans this season with two in three games.

Portland is 3-1-1-1 in their last six games and is 13-7-1-1 this year when facing a U.S. Division rival.

STAT OF THE DAY: Since December 16th, Skyler McKenzie’s nine goals are tied for the 4th most in the WHL.

Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:

Winterhawks: 2-1-0-0                Americans: 1-2-0-0

Season Series:

11/11/17 – Tri-City 2 @ Portland 5

27/12/17 – Tri-City 6 @ Portland 3

29/12/17 – Portland 3 @ Tri-City 2 (OT)

12/01/18 – Portland @ Tri-City

02/02/18 – Portland @ Tri-City

03/02/18 – Tri-City @ Portland

09/02/18 – Tri-City @ Portland

27/02/18 – Portland @ Tri-City

03/03/18 – Portland @ Tri-City

10/03/18 – Tri-City @ Portland

Portland returns home tomorrow, January 13th to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds. Make sure to grab your tickets HERE!

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