The Winterhawks host Seattle for the first time this New Year in a critical rivalry match-up between two current playoff opponents. Due to the trade deadline, both rosters will look slightly different since the last time the two teams played each other.
Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Tickets: Portland vs. Seattle
Watch: WHL Live or on Portland’s CW
PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 4 vs. Americans 2: The Portland Winterhawks scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Tri-City Americans 4-2 on Wednesday night. Joachim Blichfeld’s three point performance highlighted the night as he netted his 200th career regular season point with the Hawks.
After allowing two goals in the first period within a 40 second window, the Winterhawks played 59:20 of shutout hockey. Joel Hofer settled into a groove after the first period and stopped 20 straight shots to end the night, 26 total, for his second win as a member of the Winterhawks.
With the win, the Hawks have now won nine of their last 11 games and have earned 19 of a possible 24 points since the holiday break.
THEY SAID IT: “It was a tie game throughout the second period and we just stuck with (our game plan),” Joachim Blichfeld said. “I think in the last game we played them, we kind of took off in the third but the puck wasn’t going in, and tonight we did the same thing, but it was going in.”
- Joachim Blichfeld reeled in another three point night, the 25th of his career, to claim first star of the game honors. Both of the San Jose Sharks prospect goals came in the third period to help secure the victory. His 42 goals and 86 points lead the Western Hockey League and he now has three game-winning goals in January.
- Cody Glass tacked on two primary assists tonight giving him 86 multi-point games in his career as a Hawk. His 51 assists is tied for the WHL lead and he continues to lead the WHL in points per game (64 points, 33 games, 1.94 points/game) while Blichfeld is third (86 points, 46 games 1.87 points/game)
- Jaydon Dureau scored the team’s first goal of the night and his 10th of the season. He and Seth Jarvis became the first pair of WHL rookies to each have ten or more goals this season.
- Josh Paterson scored his first goal in front of the home crowd, giving him five points in five games with the Winterhawks.
- Dureau’s and Paterson’s goals were separated by just 37 seconds, tying the game at 2-2 before the end of the first period.
- The win marks the third straight game Joel Hofer has allowed two or fewer goals in a game.
There is no denying that the Thunderbirds were sellers this season, and began trading players within hours of the Hawks beating the T-Birds on New Years Eve. Notably, leading scorer Zack Andrusiak (Everett) and number one netminder Liam Hughes (Lethbridge) were shipped before the Winterhawks even settled down in Canada for their eastern swing. Reece Harsch, Loeden Schaufler and Samuel Huo were the others traded for assets that brought back a few players, prospects and seven WHL Bantam picks.
Despite the changes to its roster, Seattle has been playing very good hockey. Prior to their home loss last night against the Central Division leading Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Thunderbirds had points in six straight games and elevated themselves into a playoff position. A large reason for their success has been the addition of 18-year-old goaltender Roddy Ross. The 6-foot-4 Saskatchewan native was called up from the AJHL to join the team during its East Division swing. Prior to last night, he never allowed more than three goals a game and he leap frogged Cole Schwebius in the lineup after sporting a .920 save percentage.
The leadership up front has carried a heavy load into 2019. Captain Nolan Volcan has points in seven of his last nine games to lead the way with 47 points and Noah Philp has 17 points in ten games since the New Year. Both Winterhawks’ opponents this weekend are in the midst of a three-in-three set and the Winterhawks will look to rally from their midweek win against Tri-City.
Recently named NHL Central Scouting skater Reece Newkirk has put together a nice season against the Thunderbirds with two goals and ten assists in six games. On the Seattle side, Jake Lee was the Thunderbirds highest ranked NHL prospect and returns to his WHL club after playing in the CHL Top Prospects game earlier this week. Lee recorded a primary assist on the tying third period goal. Left winger Henrik Rybinski (acquired from Medicine Hat) was also on the mid-season Central Scouting list and he has eight assists in the first nine games with his new team.
It should be interesting to see how the new players fit into the infamous I-5 rivalry, with Joel Hofer and Josh Paterson getting their first taste against Seattle. The doors open at 5:00 p.m. and fans can pick up a Boeing airplane toss contest form on the concourse to begin constructing their paper airplane. The grand prize is a brand new kitchen range from our friends at Standard TV & Appliance (worth approximately $1,200). Also win prizes from Papa Johns, Dave and Busters, Baskin-Robbins, Jimmy Johns and more!
Portland prepares for back-to-back home games against Seattle and Lethbridge this weekend. The Battle with Seattle continues Saturday night at 6:00 p.m at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised on Portland’s CW and it’s also the annual Boeing Airplane Toss. Following Saturday night’s game, fans can fly their paper airplane onto the ice for a chance to land it on targets and win prizes. Be sure to visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.