Portland heads east Friday evening for its first meeting against the Tri-City Americans. The Winterhawks (0-2-0-0) are looking to capture their first win of the season against a Tri-City team that routed the Spokane Chiefs 6-1 in their home opener a week ago.
Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 1 at Silvertips 3: The Everett Silvertips stole the show at home, beating the Winterhawks 3-1 on Sunday.
Defense stood strong in the first period for both teams as only 11 total shots were registered. The Winterhawks spent their fair share of time on the penalty kill and went a perfect 3-for-3 in killing minor penalties in the first.
Portland started the second period on a high note. Shane Farkas opened the frame with a spectacular save 35 seconds into the period on the near post. A few minutes later, forwards Jake Gricius and Joachim Blichfeld found Jaydon Dureau across the crease for his first WHL goal. The Silvertips went on a mission and closed the period with three straight goals of their own, including a 5-on-3 power play goal from Jake Christiansen to make it 3-1 heading into the intermission break.
A relatively quiet third period rolled on without any offense. The Winterhawks were unable to score with an extra attacker for the final 1:45 of game time, and dropped game two of the season in 3-1 fashion.
The Americans (1-0-0-0) opened the 2018-19 season with a five-goal victory against Spokane last weekend. Captain Nolan Yaremko led the charge with two goals and two assists in the contest and is projected to have a big season in Eastern Washington. He’s joined up front with NHL Draft prospect Sasha Mutala, who projects to go in the top 40 picks of this summer’s draft. The 17 year old native of Vancouver registered 26 points last year in his rookie campaign.
Not to be overlooked, the Detroit Red Wings sent former first round pick Michael Rasmussen could be back for one more year of WHL action. In 178 career games with Tri-City, Rasmussen has racked up 97 goals and 190 points. Currently, he is skating with Detroit in the preseason.
With WHL veteran Beck Warm coming back in net for the Americans, there wasn’t much concern about the Americans play between the pipes. Beck looked sharp during preseason play and backstopped 24 saves on 25 shots in his first appearance this year. The Americans look to 16-year-old Talyn Boyko for the backup duties.
Finishing with 85 points in the standings each of the last two years, there is no denying the Americans are on the upswing. The Tri-City Americans have a new head coach at the helm with Kelly Buchberger, who recorded his first career WHL coaching last weekend. He joins the Americans’ bench following ten years in various assistant coaching and player development roles at the NHL level, most recently with the New York Islanders. After getting bounced in the Western Conference Championship series a few months ago, Buchberger has the team and the fire power to help lead the Americans to the Promised Land in 2019.
• Hawks rookie forward Seth Jarvis currently leads WHL rookies with two goals in the WHL Opening Week.
• Per WHL.ca, there were 121 goals scored since the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season began, 14 served as career firsts – good enough for 11.6 per cent of all goals scored through Wednesday, September 26. (Seth Jarvis and Jaydon Dureau were two of those 14)
The Hawks Pacific Office Automation home opener is on September 29th against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Moda Center. Individual tickets are now on sale. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.