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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs. Tri-City – Game #35

Ben Ludeman

The Winterhawks are back from their winter break and are set to take on the Tri-City Americans on Friday night. It is the third straight game against the Americans this month.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Moda Center

Tickets: Portland vs. Tri-City

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 3 at Tri-City 4 – Overtime: For the second straight night, the Winterhawks and Americans went to overtime. Tri-City came up on the winning end of a 4-3 final on December 16.

The goaltenders stole the show in the first period of play, turning aside the 20 combined shots they faced.

In the opening minute of the second period, the Winterhawks were buzzing in their offensive zone. Ryan Hughes won a puck battle in the left wing corner and loaded it to the slot for Joachim Blichfeld who shot it off the bar and in to give Portland a 1-0 lead.

Tri-City charged back with two goals of its own. Kyle Olson slapped in a shot from the right circle to tie the game at one apiece. A few minutes later, the Americans had a lengthy shift in the offensive zone that hemmed in the Hawks for an extended time, forcing Mike Johnston to use his timeout to make a personnel change. On the ensuing face-off, the Americans made quick work to score the go-ahead goal with Riley Sawchuk in front of the crease.

The Americans’ lead, however, only lasted 53 seconds. Ryan Hughes netted his second point of the night on a slot shot. The two teams each struck once in the third period to force extra time.

Sawchuk scored his second of the night on a 2-on-1 rush to give the Americans a 3-2 lead. Portland pushed back to tie the game before the end of regulation. With 34 seconds to play, the Hawks pulled Shane Farkas for an extra attacker and they scored on a Jared Freadrich point shot.

Joachim Blichfeld collected a secondary assist on the game-tying goal and thanks to his three-point night, he is now tied for first in the Western Hockey League with 64 points. For the third time this season, the Hawks and Americans battled in overtime,

Each team exchanged prime scoring chances in the opening moments of the overtime period, but play continued. The Winterhawks were rewarded with a power play chance with 2:20 to play in overtime. Despite a push, the Americans withheld the pressure and chased up the left wing side shorthanded. Olson scored the game-winning goal with a one-handed backhand shot, beating the Hawks 4-3 at the Moda Center for the first time in over two years.

TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

On the season, Tri-City is 3-0 against the Hawks with all three games decided after 60 minutes. Before the holiday break, Tri-City won its first game at the Moda Center in a little over two years.

Friday night is the second to last time fans can enjoy the Hawks play downtown until mid-January. On New Years day, the Winterhawks begin their 14-day road trip to Saskatchewan.

Portland is on pace for a better season than 2017-18. At the midway point of the season, the Hawks have scored 138 goals (compared to 133 last year) and have 43 points on the year, pacing them second in the U.S. Division.

Though the Americans have been a trending team in the Western Conference lately with three straight wins, the Hawks held third period leads in each head-to-head contest this year. They will look to become the sixth team in the league to reach the 20-win plateau.

At the mid-season point of the schedule, Joachim Blichfeld and Cody Glass are one of only two sets of teammates in the CHL to be in the top ten of offensive categories. Glass and Team Canada are off to a 2-0 start at the World Junior Championships and Glass has one goal and four assists in those games.

Blichfeld has done well against the Americans with three goals and four assists in three games against Tri-City. Defenseman Clay Hanus has been dishing out assists with five apples in his last three contests. On the opposite side, forwards Riley Sawchuk and Parker AuCoin lead the way with five points each against the Hawks this season.

The Hawks are home Friday, December 28th against the Tri-City Americans. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on ticket pricing and availability.

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