The Hawks have won three straight games heading into Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game against one of the hotter teams out east.
Puck Drop: 5:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. CT
Venue: Mosaic Place
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 5 vs. Broncos 3: The Hawks start their East Division swing on a high note, beating the Swift Current Broncos 5-3. Thirteen different Winterhawks players recorded a point in the victory.
The Hawks and the reigning WHL Champions traded goals throughout the first two periods of the game. Just over two minutes in, Lane Gilliss got a puck behind the defense and tucked it through the pads of Joel Hofer to give the Hawks the early 1-0 lead. Swift Current answered with a goal of its own from the slot to tie the game at 1-1.
In the 14th minute of the first period, Joachim Blichfeld blasted in his WHL-leading 35th goal of the season. Ryan Hughes collected the primary assist, marking it nine points in his last three games. Later, Michal Kvasnica tucked in an insurance marker to make it a 3-1 game. It was his second multi-point performance in his WHL career. However, 16 seconds later, Swift Current cut into the lead to make it a 3-2 contest heading into the first intermission.
With momentum entering the second period, centreman Ethan Regnier netted his 7th goal of the season on a hard shot to the left corner to tie the game at three apiece. That would represent the lone goal of the period.
Portland was able to break free in the third. Jaydon Dureau scored the eventual game-winning goal on a 3-on-1 rush with his linemates to make it a 4-3 game. Jake Gricius added an empty net tally to seal the victory for the Hawks.
Despite taking the loss, Hofer turned aside 43 shots. Shane Farkas collected his third straight win by denying 20 shots.
Moose Jaw enters the game fresh off an impressive 4-2 road win against the Eastern Conference leading Prince Albert Raiders. Twenty year old Tristin Langan paced the offense with his third hat trick of the season and he now has nine goals and seven assists in his last six games.
Montreal Canadiens second round pick in 2017 Josh Brook returned to the lineup after competing for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships and he casually put up three assists in his return to the lineup, giving him points in his last four games. In his start against the Raiders last night, Brodan Salmond turned aside a season-high 38 shots in the win.
As of late, the Warriors have relied heavily on its offense and it has come through. They have put up 26 goals in their last six games while only allowing 15. Last season, the Warriors scored six in Portland to beat the Hawks at the Coliseum. Outside of that blip, the Hawks have won six of the last eight meetings against the Warriors and have not lost at the Mosaic Place since 2012.
Tonight’s game pits the WHL’s December Player of the Month Joachim Blichfeld against the December Rookie of the Month Brayden Tracey. Tracey leads all rookies in points in 39 this season, nine more points than the next best rookie. Both he and Blichfeld found the back of the net on Friday.
Coming into the match-up, the Winterhawks have eight players with a point streak of three or more games. This does not come at much surprise given that Portland is second in the league in offense. Moose Jaw was able to stun the top offense in the WHL last night, and they are asked to do the same tonight to keep pace with Saskatoon in the division.
Portland is in the midst of his bi-annual trip to Saskatchewan to face the East Division opponents. They return home on Saturday, January 19 for a sunset game against the Everett Silvertips at 5:00 p.m. at the Coliseum. It’s also a Belmont Station Beer and Cider Tasting Night. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.