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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs Seattle – Game #42

Ben Ludeman

Portland (25-13-1-2) vs Seattle (20-15-4-2) – 6:00 p.m. – Veterans Memorial Coliseum 

Listen: http://winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: Portland’s CW

Tickets: http://bit.ly/2Dbj6id

The Hawks and Thunderbirds meet up for the fourth time in two weeks tonight. The last three meetings have gone to extra-time, with previous two ending in a shootout. Ryan Hughes scored the shootout-winner for Portland on Tuesday.

PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 5 at Tri-City 1: The Winterhawks welcomed a slew of new and returning faces to their lineup and took down the Tri-City Americans 5-1 in Kennewick for their third straight win.

The Winterhawks welcomed back Kieffer Bellows, Joachim Blichfeld and Henri Jokiharju from the World Juniors. While both Lukus MacKenzie and Dennis Cholowski made their Portland debuts.

After a scoreless first period, the Hawks poured it on in the second, beginning with a goal from Bellows, his 21st of the season just 41 seconds into the frame. Alex Overhardt netted the Hawks second goal of the night off a pass from Blichfeld. Portland went up 3-0 on a tipped goal from Mason Mannek on a shot from Jokiharju.

In the third, Lukus MacKenzie wired home his first of the season and first as a Winterhawk on a 2-on-1. Bellows’ buried his second of the night on a rebound on a Hawks man-advantage to make it a 5-0 game for Portland. The Americans added one late to make it a 5-1 final. Cole Kehler made 28 saves for his 21st win of the season.

TODAY’S OPPONENT: After recording a point in nine straight games, Seattle lost 6-2 last night to the Kelowna Rockets. The Thunderbirds have been a roll, going 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Leading the way for Seattle upfront has been Donovan Neuls and Nolan Volcan. Both players have 43 points on the year and Volcan’s 17 goals are tied for second on the team. 19-year old forward Zach Andrusiak leads Seattle in goals with 18 on the year.

Seattle’s backend continues to rack up points. Jarret Tyszka, Turner Ottenbreit and Austin Strand have combined for 92 points in 111 games. Tyszka is tied for the Thunderbirds in scoring against Portland with five points in five games.

Sami Moilanen has three goals in three games against the Hawks this year, leading all Thunderbirds.

Seattle made a pair of acquisitions over the trade deadline, bringing in defenseman Owen Williams from Regina and Jaxan Kaluski from Moose Jaw.

WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Lukus MacKenzie had quite the debut for Portland last night, picking up two-thirds of a “Gordie Howe hat-trick”, registering a goal and a fight. Both he and Dennis Cholowski will be making their home debut tonight.

Kieffer Bellows came back from the World Juniors with a vengeance. The New York Islanders first round pick scored twice last night, including a wicked wrister in the second frame that got the Hawks on the board.

Alex Overhardt enters tonight’s contest on a seven-game point streak, a career high, and has three goals and nine points over that span.

STAT OF THE DAY: Cole Kehler is 3-0-0-0 over his last three starts with a 2.00 GAA and a .941 SV%.

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

Winterhawks: 3-0-1-1          Thunderbirds: 2-2-0-1

This Year’s Season Series:
09/30/17 – Seattle 2 @ Portland 6

10/07/17 – Portland 10 @ Seattle 5

12/30/17 – Portland 3 @ Seattle 4 (OT) 

12/31/17 – Seattle 4 @ Portland 3 (SO)

01/09/18 – Portland 3 @ Seattle 2 (SO)

01/13/18 – Seattle @ Portland

02/10/18 – Portland @ Seattle

02/11/18 – Seattle @ Portland

03/02/18 – Seattle @ Portland

03/04/18 – Portland @ Seattle

03/16/18 – Seattle @ Portland

03/17/18 – Portland @ Seattle

Portland is back at home tomorrow night to take on the Everett Silvertips. Make sure to grab your tickets HERE!

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