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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs. Vancouver – Game #10

Ben Ludeman

Friday night represents the first of four meetings this season between the Hawks and Giants. Portland is looking to play spoilers against a Vancouver team that is riding an eight game point streak into the weekend.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Moda Center

Tickets: Portland vs. Vancouver

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 2 vs Silvertips 4: The Winterhawks dropped a close one to the Silvertips on Sunday evening, falling in 4-2 fashion to end their six game point streak.

The Hawks came out fast in the first period and were rewarded with five power plays. The chances were there, but Dustin Wolf stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first frame. Before the intermission break, Martin Fasko-Rudas netted his second goal of the season on a feed from Akash Bains in the corner. The goal came ten seconds after Everett killed a double minor penalty.

Offense got rolling in the second period, which each team finding the back of the net twice. Everett stretched the lead to 2-0 before Portland responded after the media timeout. Reece Newkirk put in his sixth of the season off a face-off win to cut the lead in half. Everett answered back a few minutes later with a goal from the blue line, but Portland kept them honest with one more goal before heading into the intermission. Forward Robbie Fromm-Delorme scored his first Western Hockey League goal on a two-on-one rush set up by Mason Mannek.

The comeback effort fell just short in the final frame. Wolf  stopped a season high 30 shots and helped secure the team’s sixth win of the season. He blocked all eight shots he faced in the third and Bryce Kindopp scored on an empty net to seal the win.

TODAY’S OPPONENT:

This weekend is a home-and-home match-up between the two teams, as the Hawks will make the trek north to the Langley Events Centre to play the Giants on Saturday night. The Giants haven’t lost in regulation since September 28th and they are 3-1-0 this season against U.S. Division opponents.

Vancouver is a vastly improved team from a season ago. They have elevated their play from playoff hopeful to Ed Chynoweth contender over the course of one off-season. The best team of record in the Western Conference has plenty of firepower through its lineup.

Nineteen year old James Malm, a fourth year Giant, is well on his way to setting a career high in goals and points this year. He has scored eight goals through 11 games and is tied for second on the WHL leader board. Malm has done well centering a line with Brayden Watts, and offensively, Vancouver is well balanced.

But their bread and butter this season has been on the defensive side of the puck. The Giants tout a future top ten NHL Draft pick in Bowen Byram. The former third overall WHL pick in 2016 won the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this year with his fellow Canadians and is exceeding expectations in his second full WHL season. One of Byram’s best assets is his speed and getting pucks on net. He’s already been handsomely rewarded with nine points for his efforts.

In net, the Giants have one of the best tandems in the league on paper. David Tendeck, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick, is fifth in the league with a sub-2.00 goals against average and ranks second with seven wins. In case Tendeck hits a cold spell this year, former first round draft pick Trent Miner is up to the challenge.

Portland won just one of four games last season against Vancouver and this weekend proves to be an equally difficult task.

Don’t miss the excitement at the Moda Center. Tickets are still available for tonight’s 7:00 p.m. game against Vancouver. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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