Portland (38-20-1-4) at Tri-City (32-22-8-1) – 7:05 p.m. – Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA
Hawks coming into tonight’s contest with points in four straight games. Tonight is the ninth game between the Americans and Winterhawks this season. Portland currently leads the season series 6-2-0-0. The Hawks are 3-1-0-0 this season in Kennewick.
PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 4 vs. Thunderbirds 5 (SO): The Hawks came back from a 3-1 third period deficit to take the lead late, but the Thunderbirds would tie it and eventually win it in a shootout.
Seattle was up 1-0 in the first period when Jake Gricius drove the Seattle net and Ty Kolle buried the rebound to tie things at one after 20 minutes. In the second, Seattle went up by two, after goals from Zack Andrusiak and Donovan Neuls made it 3-1 heading into the final frame.
In the third, Portland got within one on a goal from Cody Glass on a sweet feed from Henri Jokiharju on the powerplay. Then, just six seconds later, Keoni Texeira sprung Joachim Blichfeld in on a breakaway, who then went five-hole on Hughes to tie things at three. Portland continued to press, and under three minutes later, Glass found Ryan Hughes at the top of the right circle, who then beat a sprawling Liam Hughes to make it 4-3 Portland. But Seattle responded with under five minutes to play, as Noah Philp dug a loose puck out of Portland’s crease and threw it shelf on Cole Kehler. With the game tied at four, the game would head to overtime.
In OT, the teams exchanged chances but both Kehler and Hughes made several big saves. Seattle and Portland would head to a shootout, where in the third-round, down by one, Glass beat Liam Hughes to keep the Hawks alive. But it wasn’t enough, as Andrusiak would put it by Kehler in the very next round to give Seattle the 5-4 win. Kehler made 29 saves in the game for the Winterhawks.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: Tonight is the last game of a six-game homestand for the Americans. After winning the first three games of the homestand, Tri-City has lost two straight in Kennewick. On Tuesday, it was a 9-0 shellacking from Portland, then last night they fell 5-4 in OT to the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans are holding on to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, sitting four points up on Seattle.
Morgan Geekie had a pair of goals last night for the Americans against Spokane. Versus Portland this season, the Carolina Hurricanes draft pick has seven points in seven games. Forward Isaac Johnson has five goals against the Winterhawks this year to lead all Tri-City players.
The Americans will have to be better on the man-advantage this evening against Portland. On Tuesday, Tri-City was 0/7 on the powerplay in their 9-0 loss.
Patrick Dea was in net on Tuesday and last night for the Americans. The over-age tender has now allowed 10 goals in his last two starts. Beck Warm hasn’t fared much better for the Americans recently, allowing 14 goals over his last four starts.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Cody Glass enters tonight on a roll for Portland. The Vegas Golden Knights first-round pick has seven points in his last three games and is on a five-game point streak. Glass picked up a goal and an assist in the third period yesterday during Portland’s comeback against Seattle.
Joachim Blichfeld leads all Winterhawks with 11 points in five games against Tri-City. On Tuesday, Blichfeld had a four-point night, while his linemate Ryan Hughes had two goals and three assists.
Kieffer Bellows has the most goals versus the Americans with eight in six contests. He had a pair of goals in Portland’s 9-0 win on Tuesday.
Shane Farkas will likely get the start tonight for Portland, based solely on his played against the Americans this season. Farkas is 4-0-0-0 against Tri-City, with a 1.24 GAA and a .965 SV%.
STAT OF THE DAY: Kieffer Bellows leads all Portland players in shots on goal this season with 237, despite only play 47 games. That’s an incredible average of five shots-per-game. Cody Glass ranks second on Portland averaging 4.3 shots-per-contest.
Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 6-2-0-0 Americans: 2-5-1-0
This Year’s Season Series:
11/11/17 – Tri-City 2 @ Portland 5
27/12/17 – Tri-City 6 @ Portland 3
29/12/17 – Portland 3 @ Tri-City 2 (OT)
12/01/18 – Portland 5 @ Tri-City 1
02/02/18 – Portland 3 @ Tri-City 6
03/02/18 – Tri-City 2 @ Portland 3
09/02/18 – Tri-City 1 @ Portland 3
27/02/18 – Portland 9 @ Tri-City 0
03/03/18 – Portland @ Tri-City
10/03/18 – Tri-City @ Portland
Portland has three more road games before they return home next Saturday, March 10th, when the Hawks take on the Tri-City Americans. On that night, the Winterhawks will be honoring the 1998 Memorial Cup winning team. Grab your tickets HERE!