Portland (38-20-1-3) vs. Seattle (29-24-7-2) – 7:00 p.m. – Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The Winterhawks enter tonight’s contest on a three-game winning streak. This is the ninth time Seattle and Portland have met this season. The Winterhawks currently lead the season series 6-0-1-1.
PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 9 at Americans 0: Ryan Hughes had five points and the Winterhawks buried nine goals against the Americans on Tuesday in a massive 9-0 victory over Tri-City.
Hughes got the Hawks on the board first just 2:32 into the opening frame. Joachim Blichfeld found Hughes alone in the slot on the powerplay and he wired home his 13th of the season to make it 1-0. Just 1:14 later, Keoni Texeira fired home a slapshot on a pass from Conor MacEachern to give Portland a 2-0 lead less than four minutes in. The Hawks weren’t done yet however, as Blichfeld and Hughes again connected. This time it was Blichfeld scoring, his 21st of the year, to make it 3-0 Portland.
In second, the onslaught continued with Kieffer Bellows picking up his 33rd of the season just 3:28 into the second. Then, Brendan De Jong and again Hughes made it 5-0 Portland with under two minutes remaining in the second. With assists on both Bellows and De Jong’s goals, Hughes picked up his fifth point of the night. With 44 seconds left in the period, Bellows added his second of the night to make it 7-0 after two periods.
In the final period, the Hawks just kept coming. Cody Glass went five-hole on Beck Warm to make it 8-0, then Reece Newkirk buried another to give Portland a 9-0 lead. Winterhawks goaltender Shane Farkas was phenomenal all night long, eventually making 37 saves to record his second shutout of the season. Portland improved to 38-20-1-3 on the season.
TODAY’S OPPONENT: Seattle comes into this evenings game with just three wins in their last 13 games. They did however take down the Vancouver Giants 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday at the ShoWare Center. The Thunderbirds currently hold down the second wild-card spot and are six points ahead of the Blazers with three games in hand.
Seattle has not had a ton of success versus the Hawks this season, losing their last four against Portland. On the season, Donovan Neuls leads all Thunderbirds in points against Portland, with eight in eight games. Sami Moilanen, Matthew Wedman and Dillon Hamaliuk all have three goals versus the Hawks. Forward Zack Andrusiak is coming in playing some great hockey, picking up a hattrick in Tuesday’s victory over Vancouver, including the OT winner.
Goaltender Liam Hughes has struggled for the most part against the Winterhawks, going 2-2-0-1 on the season with a 3.82 GAA and a .897 SV%.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Ryan Hughes had an incredible five-point night on Tuesday against the Americans. Hughes now has 13 points in his last 11 games. His linemate, Joachim Blichfeld, also had a big night, registering a goal and three assists.
Goaltender Shane Farkas continued his strong play, picking up a 37-save shutout on Tuesday. Farkas is now 8-1-0-0 on 2018, with a 1.72 GAA and a .941 SV%.
Kieffer Bellows continued to put the puck in the net, recording his second straight two goal game on Tuesday. Bellows now has five goals in his last three games and 15 goals in his last 15 games.
STAT OF THE DAY: Kieffer Bellows 0.74 goals-per-game ranks sixth in the Western Hockey League.
Here’s how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 6-0-1-1 Thunderbirds: 2-5-0-1
This Year’s Season Series:
09/30/17 – Seattle 2 @ Portland 6
10/07/17 – Portland 10 @ Seattle 5
12/30/17 – Portland 3 @ Seattle 4 (OT)
12/31/17 – Seattle 4 @ Portland 3 (SO)
01/09/18 – Portland 3 @ Seattle 2 (SO)
01/13/18 – Seattle 4 @ Portland 5
02/10/18 – Portland 4 @ Seattle 1
02/11/18 – Seattle 3 @ Portland 5
03/02/18 – Seattle @ Portland
03/04/18 – Portland @ Seattle
03/16/18 – Seattle @ Portland
03/17/18 – Portland @ Seattle
The Hawks will head out on the road for four straight games after tonight. 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!