The Hawks have won six straight meetings against the Regina Pats and they face the 2017-18 Memorial Cup hosts on Wednesday night.
Puck Drop: 5:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. CT
Venue: Brandt Centre
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 4 vs. Wheat Kings 3: The Hawks make it five straight wins with a 4-3 victory against the Wheat Kings on Tuesday night.
It was an offensive first period as both teams scored a pair. Brandon’s Ben McCartney scored twice in the opening four minutes of the game on the team’s first two shots of the night.
Michal Kvasnica cut into the 2-0 deficit with a nifty spin around shot from the point to evade the defender and beat Jiri Patera on his glove side. The Winterhawks tied the game before the end of the first period on a redirected pass in the crease by Seth Jarvis to make it 2-2.
Coming out for the middle frame, the Winterhawks continued to find offensive chances and they scored the go-ahead goal in the final six minutes of the period. On an odd-man rush, Brandon broke up the initial pass, but Jake Gricius improvised and sent it left wing for Jaydon Dureau who shot it into an open net to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.
After allowing the first two goals, Shane Farkas settled into a groove and turned aside 21 straight pucks through 40 minutes of play.
Portland added a shorthanded insurance marker in the third period to put the Hawks up by two. With Joachim Blichfeld charging in for a breakaway, Patera was forced to skate out of his net to play the puck. He turned it over to Jake Gricius as the blueline who found Blichfeld on a pass behind the goaltender and the Hawks put it in the open net to increase their lead.
Brandon scored a few minutes later to keep things interesting, but the Winterhawks withheld the attack and made it four straight wins against the Wheat Kings, beating them 4-3.
The Hawks enter the game with an unblemished record of 3-0 against the East Division with eight different Portland players scoring this month.
With the trade deadline looming (Thursday at 2:00 p.m. PST), the Regina Pats have already made some healthy moves earlier this winter. Since November, the Pats have netted nine draft picks, including a pair of first round picks and a second rounder. While the Pats are sellers after making a championship push for back-t0-back seasons, the Winterhawks were deadline buyers acquiring goaltender Joel Hofer from Swift Current. Hofer is not expected to be with the team until earliest this weekend.
Focusing on tonight’s game, Matthew Quigley is eligible to return to the lineup after serving his four game suspension. Joachim Blichfeld has goals in 11 of 13 games since December 1, including the game winner on Tuesday against Brandon. The Danish forward leads the Canadian Hockey League with 76 points.
Regina has lost its last four games and has been held under four goals in every game since November 16. Former Winterhawks Ty Kolle is second on the team with 17 points and he scored in his Pats’ debut back on November 30. Nineteen year old Austin Pratt is the Pats’ point leader with 33 and he has found the stat sheet in three of four January games.
NHL Draft prospect Max Paddock has posted the better numbers in the crease for the Pats this season and he’s been hot, allowing two or fewer goals in four of his last five starts.
The Pats are just 1-3-0-0 against U.S. Division teams this season, surrendering 16 goals in those four games. Wednesday night provides a chance for the Hawks to continue their momentum before they travel north to face the two best teams in the East Division.
Portland is in the midst of his bi-annual trip to Saskatchewan/Manitoba 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.