Portland (21-10-0-1) at Silvertips (20-13-1-1) – 4:05 p.m. – Everett, WA
The Winterhawks take on the Silvertips in Everett tonight for their final game before the Christmas break. Portland has lost their last two games against the Tips, but are 2-1-0-0 so far this season in Everett. The Silvertips are one point behind Portland in the U.S. Division standings, but have played two more games than the Winterhawks.
PREVIOUS GAME RECAP: The Hawks were back at home to take on the Chiefs Saturday night for their last home game before the holiday break but fell 6-3 to Spokane.
Portland (21-10-0-1) got on the board first with a shorthanded goal from Alex Overhardt 5:11 into the period. Skyler McKenzie potted his 21st of the season three minutes later, also shorthanded, to put the Hawks up 2-0. Spokane (18-12-1-2) then responded with three goals to end the first with a one goal lead.
The Chiefs scored first in the second to make it 4-2, but Ty Kolle buried his third of the season to put the Hawks within one. The Winterhawks controlled play in the third frame but were unable to beat Chiefs netminder Donovan Buskey, as the Spokane eventually potted an empty-netter to make it a 6-3 final.
Goaltender Cole Kehler had 24 saves on the night.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: The Silvertips had their nine-game winning streak snapped on Friday night to the Spokane Chiefs, but rebounded quickly. Everett came away with a 4-0 home shutout win over the Prince George Cougars last night. And no, it wasn’t Carter Hart in net. Hart has been named to Team Canada’s World Junior roster and will be away until that tournament finishes. Last night, it was 16-year-old Dustin Wolf picking up his first career shutout, making 31 saves in the process. Wolf will be relied upon heavily by Everett until Hart’s eventual return.
So far this season, over-age forward Patrick Bajkov has loved playing Portland. He has seven points in five games, including four goals. Bajkov leads the Silvertips in points this year, posting 50 in 35 games, which puts him in a tie for 9th in the WHL.
The Winterhawks went 0 for 7 on the powerplay last night and things don’t get any easier tonight against Everett, who have the best PK in the WHL.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Portland got off to a flying start in last night’s game against the Spokane Chiefs. The Hawks scored two short-handed goals in the first ten minutes, both of which were set up by Cody Glass. Glass has four points against Everett in five games this season.
Ryan Hughes returned to Portland’s lineup after missing just over two months with a lower-body injury. Hughes did not miss a beat, registering six shots in the game and playing on the Winterhawks top powerplay unit. With Joachim Blichfeld and Kieffer Bellows at the World Junior Championship, Hughes will be relied upon immediately to provide an offensive spark for Portland.
Alex Overhardt, who had a shorthanded goal last night, has played well this season against Everett. The Colorado-born forward has four points in five games, including a pair of goals.
STAT OF THE DAY: With two points last night, Cody Glass now has 18 multi-point games in 31 contests this season. He has been held pointless just six times this year.
Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 2-3-0-0 Silvertips: 3-2-0-0
09/23/17 – Portland 7 @ Everett 4
10/29/17 – Everett 3 @ Portland 2
11/04/17 – Portland 3 @ Everett 1
12/06/17 – Portland 1 @ Everett 4
12/09/17 – Everett 2 @ Portland 1
12/17/17 – Portland @ Everett
01/06/18 – Portland @ Everett
01/14/18 – Everett @ Portland
01/31/18 – Everett @ Portland
03/11/18 – Everett @ Portland
Portland returns home after the Christmas break on December 27th to faceoff with the Tri-City Americans at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Make sure to grab your tickets HERE!