Portland (29-17-1-3) vs. Everett (32-16-1-2) – 7:00 p.m. – Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Tonight marks the ninth of ten meetings this season between the Hawks and the Silvertips. Portland is currently 3-4-0-1 against Everett this year and fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Silvertips the last time they met on January 14th.
PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 4 vs. Blazers 2: Keoni Texeira scored the game-winner as the Winterhawks took down the Blazers in 4-2 victory in their third game in three nights. The victory was Head Coach Mike Johnston’s 300th career win with Portland.
After a scoreless opening 20, Portland got on the board first on the man-advantage on a blast from the blueline by Henri Jokiharju. Jake Gricius then buried another powerplay marker 14:32 into the second to make it a 2-0 lead. For Gricius, it was his third goal in his last three games.
The Hawks extended their lead to three early in the third on a nice passing play by between Seth Jarvis, Jokiharju and Texeira, with the Hawks captain finishing it off. For Jarvis, it was his second point in the WHL.
The Blazers would make it close however, scoring twice on the powerplay during a five-minute Hawks major. But Portland would put it away with an empty-net goal from Mason Mannek. Cole Kehler was solid all night and ended up with 33 saves on the night.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: The Silvertips enter tonight’s game against the Hawks on a 10-game point streak. The point streak is the fourth longest in the WHL this season (the longest is POR and MJ at 12-games).
Forward Matt Fonteyne has had an incredible month of January for Everett. He leads all WHL players with 25 points in 12 games. On January 22nd, after recording 10 points in three games, Fonteyne was named WHL Player of the Week.
Patrick Bajkov leads all Silvertips in points against Portland with 12 in eight games. Bajkov has also had an extremely successful January with 20 points in 12 games. He enters tonight with 262 career WHL points, which is tied for the most in Everett Silvertips franchise history with Zach Hamill.
Over-age D-man Kevin Davis is third in the WHL in assists among defenseman with 42. Davis is second in the WHL in powerplay points among defenseman with 27.
But perhaps the Silvertip that has been playing the best hockey as of late could be Connor Dewar. The 18-year old forward has 13 goals in his last 12 games and is coming off a game last Sunday against Spokane where he scored the tying and over-time winner.
In net, as always, Everett is led by Carter Hart. Hart has been solid in games he has faced the Hawks this season, going 3-1-0-0 with a 1.73 GAA and a .950 SV%.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Portland enters tonight winners of their last two home games, which is a good sign considering seven of their next nine games are here in Portland. The Winterhawks have obviously had an incredible year on the road (17-7-1-1) but will need to improve their home record (11-10-0-1) down the stretch.
Winterhawks forward Jake Gricius has eight goals over his last 15 games and has been one of Portland’s top forwards during the month of January. With the injurie to Cody Glass, Gricius has been asked to step into the second-line center role and has thrived offensively in the absence of Glass.
On the backend for the Hawks, Henri Jokiharju is coming off a two-point night against Kamloops on Sunday. Jokiharju has 10 points over his last 10 games and is fourth in the WHL in points-per-game this season, averaging 1.15.
As the month of January comes to a close, no Hawk has been hotter than Skyler McKenzie. The Winnipeg Jets prospect has nine goals and ten assists in 13 games. He has recorded six multi-point games over that span, which leads all Hawks.
STAT OF THE DAY: Among players who have attempted more than 300 FO’s this season, Winterhawks center Alex Overhardt is ranked 4th in Face Off % (57.8). He’s one of just six players in the WHL to have taken over 1000 draws.
Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 3-4-0-1 Silvertips: 5-3-0-0
This Year’s Season Series:
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 3 @ Everett 8
01/06/18 – Portland 4 @ Everett 3
01/14/18 – Everett 4 @ Portland 3 (SO)
01/31/18 – Everett @ Portland
03/11/18 – Everett @ Portland
After heading to Kennewick on Friday, the Winterhawks return home on Saturday to face Tri-City on “Banner Bank Mascot Night”! Make sure to grab your tickets HERE!