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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs. Seattle – Game #4

Ben Ludeman

Portland opens the home portion of the 2018-19 regular season tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks (0-2-0-1) are looking to capture their third straight home opening win against Seattle.

Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m.

Tickets: Purchase Individual Tickets

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 5 at Americans 6:  The Portland Winterhawks (0-2-0-1) capture their first point of the season, but fall short in the shootout round against the Tri-City Americans. A four goal second period fueled the Hawks on the road, but they could not finish the game in the third.

In the opening half of the first period, the Americans capitalized on two of their first three shots to take an early 2-0 lead. Before the period’s end, the Winterhawks answered back on their second power play chance of the night. Defenseman Jared Freadrich settled the puck at the blue line and drove it towards the net. The puck deflected to the right side post and Jake Gricius batted it home for his first goal of the season.

The Winterhawks felt the turning of the tide in the second period. Seventy seconds into the frame, Reece Newkirk scored his first of the night on a textbook feed from Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld across the seam to get goaltender Beck Warm well out of position. A little over six minutes later, Portland stripped the puck at center ice to spring Reece Newkirk on a 2-on-0 rush with Cody Glass. A give-and-go feed created enough space for Newkirk to punch in his second of the period to give the Winterhawks their first lead.

Americans’ captain Nolan Yaremko got one back, but Portland would tack on two more before the period’s end. After a big block in the defensive zone, the Winterhawks worked the offensive end on the power play and Joachim Blichfeld blasted home his second power play goal of the season. Offense would come through one final time before the end of forty minutes as a lengthy shift set up Lane Gilliss for a one-timer on the right circle to give Portland a 5-3 lead after two periods.

Tri-City scored two power play goals in the final period of regulation to force overtime. The Winterhawks took the only three overtime shots, but could not find the back of the net. Cody Glass would go on to score in the shootout round, but the Americans ended on top, winning 2-1 in the fourth round of the shootout to remain undefeated on home ice.

TODAY’S OPPONENT:

The Thunderbirds (2-0-0-0) remain one of two unbeaten teams in the United States Division. After holding on to a 5-3 win over the Winterhawks in their season opener, Seattle withheld the pressure by Vancouver on Friday night and beat them 3-1.

Goaltender Liam Hughes is off to a strong start, stopping 61 of 64 shots in his first two appearances. Matthew Wedman scored the game-winning goal against Vancouver, making it two straight games with goals to open the season. Former first round Bantam selection Payton Mount recorded a pair of assists in Friday night’s win, marking the first multi-point game for him in the WHL.

Offensively, it’s been smooth sailing for the Thunderbirds to begin the 2018-19 campaign. They have scored the first goal in both contests thus far and are finding production from all four lines.

Defensemen Jarret Tyszka (Montreal Canadiens) and Reece Harsch (Vegas Golden Knights) attended NHL rookie camps this month along with Liam Hughes (Philadelphia Flyers). Both defensemen are currently injured for Seattle.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TONIGHT:

Fans are encouraged to arrive at the Moda Center early to help kick off the 2018-19 season at the home opening party party. The Moda Center’s doors open one hour prior to puck drop, and you can join the Winterhawks staff on the main concourse while enjoying some music, a photo booth, corn hole games, a bounce house, temporary tattoos and more to help get you in the game spirit.

Select tickets are still available for tonight’s Pacific Office Automation home opener. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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