Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs. Prince George – Game #29
Coming off a historic weekend in the Rose City, the Winterhawks are looking to win their third straight against the Cougars. Portland scored 18 goals in two games last weekend, the most in back-to-back games since March 2013.
Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Moda Center
Tickets: Portland vs. Prince George
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 10 vs. ICE 2: The Portland Winterhawks carried momentum from their Teddy Bear Toss game and throttled the ICE 10-2 to wrap up the weekend. Ten goals was the most scored by the Winterhawks this season.
Joachim Blichfeld opened the scoring on his first shift of the game. Ryan Hughes batted a puck down to keep it in the offensive end and Cody Glass fed it to Joachim Blichfeld at the inside circle who drilled in his first of the night. After killing off two consecutive penalties in the first, the Hawks were rewarded with a power play of their own. Blichfeld one-timed the puck passed Duncan McGovern for his second goal of the night.
A few minutes later, Portland found offense in transition with Jake Gricius and Jaydon Dureau on a two-on-one rush. Gricius slid a backhanded pass across the slot. Dureau caught it clean on his tape and stepped around McGovern to bang it in for the team’s third of the night. A few minutes later, Michal Kvasnica redirected a point shot from Jared Freadrich to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead at the end of 20 minutes.
The hats were sent flying in the eighth minute of the second period when Blichfeld fired in his third goal of the night, giving the Hawks an impressive 5-0 lead. Less than a minute later, the ICE would erase the shutout on a redirected shot to make it 5-1. Not soon after, Cody Glass got involved in the goal-scoring department. Freadrich moved the puck up the right wing wall to Glass who peppered in his 10th goal of the season. That goal chased McGovern from the game. Before the period’s end, NHL A-rated prospect Peyton Krebs scored on the power play to make it a 6-2 game heading into the intermission.
It was all Hawks in the third period as they tacked on four more. Cody Glass snuck a shot through Jesse Makaj’s five-hole for his fifth point of the night. Nearing the midway point of the period, Jared Freadrich collected his WHL-record fifth assist of the night when he found Reece Newkirk up the ice to finish the play and make it 8-2. The last two goals of the night belonged to the Teddy Bear King Lane Gilliss. He scored on the power play to make it 9-2 and then scored a highlight reel goal while being knocked down to give the Winterhawks their tenth goal of the night.
Portland became the second team in the Western Hockey League to score 10 or more goals in one game this season.
The Prince George Cougars are in town for a pair of December games. It’s the only time the Cougars come to town this season, and they are looking to catch up in the B.C. Division.
The northern most team in the Western Conference has five former first round WHL Bantam picks on their team, including future NHL draft pick Taylor Gauthier. Gauthier, in his second season in the Western Hockey League, is listed as an A-rated NHL prospect for the 2019 draft. Before the season began, the Calgary based goaltender helped Team Canada capture the Hlinka Gretzky Championship.
It’s a homecoming this weekend for former Winterhawk Ilijah Colina, who played 83 regular season games for Portland. Through 136 games in the WHL, Colina has 53 points and is coming off his first career three-point performance in the league.
Tonight, Prince George begins its 11 game road trip taking us through the New Year. The Cougars are 2-3-0-1 against U.S. Division opponents, but have yet to face Everett or Portland this year.
Last season, the Hawks won three of four meetings against the Cougars as the two teams were linked thanks to the deadline deal that sent current Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dennis Cholowski to Portland. In four games last season, former first round import selection Vladislav Mikhalchuk led the way with four points against the Hawks. He currently leads the team with 21 points through the first three months of the season.
On the flip side, Gauthier allowed ten goals in just over 100 minutes against Portland last season. We’ll see if the Hawks can continue their offensive dominance in December. Portland is home for back-to-back games against Prince George Friday and Saturday night. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.