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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland vs. Seattle – Game #37

Ben Ludeman

Ring in the New Year with the Winterhawks as they take on their rival from Seattle. Following the game, fans are invited to skate at the Moda Center with their favorite players and keep the party going through midnight. Learn more about the nightly festivities.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Moda Center

Tickets: Portland vs. Seattle

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 8 vs. Seattle 6: The Winterhawks stretch their point streak to five straight games after pouring on eight goals in Seattle. Joachim Blichfeld paced the way for the Winterhawks with a goal and three assists and increased his WHL point lead.

Portland climbed out to a 3-0 lead after the first period thanks to a strong offensive start. After settling into a groove a few minutes in, Joachim Blichfeld opened the wild offensive night with a goal. Sixteen seconds later, Lane Gilliss deflected in the team’s second of the night. Portland converted on another first period chance as Reece Newkirk found Seth Jarvis on a 2-on-0 post-to-post feed to increase the Hawks lead to three. They scored those three goals in their first eight shots of the game.

Seattle charged back in the second period and tied the game at three apiece after just under 11 minutes. Those three goals set the tone for the rest of the night as the Winterhawks and Thunderbirds exchanged tallies to make it 5-5 after 40 minutes. Seattle’s Zack Andrusiak scored a hat trick in the second period.

The Hawks answered quickly in the third period as Clay Hanus increased his point streak to five straight, scoring on a low wrist shot 85 seconds into the third period from the left wing side. Ryan Hughes netted his second goal of the night a few minutes later to give Portland a 7-5 lead on the road and they never relinquished that lead.

Andrusiak scored a goal with an extra attacker in the final minute of the game to cut into the Hawks’ lead, but Gilliss sealed the 8-6 victory with an empty net goal off the center ice face-off.

TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

The Winterhawks enter the game on a five-game point streak, and will look to end 2018 on a high note against Seattle. Monday night will be the Hawks last home game until January 19 since they depart to Canada for a six-game road trip against the East Division.

In Seattle on Saturday, the teams combined for 14 goals. That’s the most goals in one game since November 4th when the Hawks beat Spokane by a similar 8-6 decision. Portland improved to 3-2-0-0 against Seattle after beating them at the ShoWare Center a few days ago.

Ryan Hughes and Joachim Blichfeld paced the way in the win, each recording four point nights. It was the second four-point performance in Hughes’ WHL career (his first since February 27, 2018) and the Hawks have points in 12 of 13 games when Hughes scores. Clay Hanus tacked on the go-ahead goal in the third period and has been the hottest Winterhawk defenseman in December.

With a shortage on the defensive side at times this weekend, the younger players stepped up. Nick Cicek earned the hard hat of the night for a two assist performance and plus-4 rating, which was the first multi-point effort in his WHL career. John Ludvig will serve the final game of his suspension on Monday, Matthew Quigley could miss some time due to his kneeing game misconduct in the last game, and Brendan De Jong sat out the last game with a concussion.

There is no mystery Zack Andrusiak has been a bright spot for Seattle. His four goal game on Saturday was the first of his career and he was first Seattle player since Noah Philp did so on October 10. The five meetings so far have been a roller coaster thanks in part to the offensive production. The Hawks have scored at least four goals in every game against Seattle so far this season and will look to continue that streak on New Year’s Eve.

Portland returns home Monday, December 31st against the Thunderbirds for our Battle with Seattle at the Toyota New Years Eve game. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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