Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Victoria – Game #31
The Winterhawks are one of the hottest trending teams in the Western Hockey League as they head across the border to face the Victoria Royals on Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m.
Venue: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 3 vs. Cougars o: The Hawks earned their second shutout of the season to sweep the weekend set against Prince George, beating them 3-0 on Saturday night.
Portland buckled down from the opening face-off and did not allow a Prince George shot in the first ten minutes of the game. They turned that strong defensive start into a lead after the first period. In the 16th minute of the game, Jake Gricius scored on a left wing shot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Special teams play had already played a factor this weekend, and the Hawks added another power play goal in the second half of the second period. Cody Glass set up Ryan Hughes at the top of the right circle for a one-time blast to make it 2-0. Shane Farkas withstood pressure in the middle period and stopped all 14 shots that came his way through the first 40 minutes.
The Hawks tacked on one more goal in the final 30 seconds of the period to give them a commanding 3-0 lead. Defenseman Jared Freadrich sealed up the wall at the point to keep the puck in the zone and Seth Jarvis batted the puck mid-air to center ice for Jaydon Dureau. The Saskatchewan native poked the puck around the defender and found an alleyway behind Taylor Gauthier to force in his sixth goal of the season.
Neither team allowed a goal in the third period as the Hawks win 3-0 to earn their second shutout of the season behind Shane Farkas. In December, the Hawks have outscored opponents 26-6 and won four straight games.
The Winterhawks have won eight of their last ten games against the Royals, including five straight dating back to February 2018. The regular season schedule against the Royals concludes this week with a pair of mid-week games in British Columbia.
Victoria has struggled recently, winning just one of their last five game, and they are looking to remain in the mix in a tightly contested Western Conference.
Earlier this week, the Royals made a trade with Saskatoon to acquire defenseman Jake Kustra to the harbored city. The 19-year-old skater adds a veteran presence to the team’s defensive corp. He’s played 169 career WHL games and has 31 points, spending his entire career with the Blades. He very well could make his Royals’ debut this week.
Top line centerman Dante Hannoun will be one the Hawks need to keep an eye on. With three goals already in December, the former first round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft is working toward a professional contract. He did not play against Portland in November (injury), but has four goals and 13 assists in 14 career games against the Hawks.
Kaid Oliver, a draft-eligible skater, leads the Royals in points this season and has three goals in his career against the Winterhawks, including two back in November.
Griffen Outhouse has been a workhorse for the Royals this season, posting impressive numbers on a team that is 7th place in the conference. In each of his last four games, Outhouse has stopped over 30 shots racking up a .934 save percentage. The Hawks will have to attack his net early and it helps knowing 16 of the Hawks’ 18 wins this season have come when they have scored first.
The Hawks return home Sunday, December 16th against the Tri-City Americans. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.