Sunday, March 10, 2013

Portland vs. Victoria Preview

Portland (52-12-1-2, 107 pts, 1st in the WHL) @ Victoria (33-28-2-5, 73 pts, 6th in the West)
Sunday 5:05 pm and Tuesday 7:05 pm

The Winterhawks, after having the last 4 nights off, get back to work against the Royals in Victoria tonight and then again on Tuesday. The Hawks won back to back 6-2 games in early November against the Royals at home.

Victoria has won only once in their last 13 games, during which they have been missing some of their best players. They were forced to play 16 skaters on Wednesday vs. Kelowna, because of injuries and suspensions. Tonight, they should still be without Forwards: Alex Gogolev (leading the team with 65 points),Trent Lofthouse (16 total points) and Defenseman and Captain Tyler Stahl, to injuries and Forward Tim Traber to suspension.

Royals to Watch:
Patrik Polivka
#15- Jamie Crooks- He leads the Royals in Goals with 33 and has 5 points in his last 6 games.
#33- Patrik Polivka- Has had a roller-coaster season for the Royals, stealing a game one night and getting lit up the next. His season stats are not that impressive: 3.24 GAA and .894 Save Percentage, but he is 28-16 overall, so his team definitely had a better chance of winning with him in the net.
#5- Keegan Kanzig- As his 2 misconducts and suspension earlier this week will attest, his likes to stir things up a bit. He leads the team with 155 PIMs, but will be relied upon to throw his 6'5" 238 lb frame around, to slow down the Hawks.

Random Notes:
Portland is looking to add a couple more to their team record for road wins(26) and possibly get closer to breaking the WHL record for road wins (28 by the 1999-2000 Calgary Hitmen and 2008-09 Saskatoon Blades). The Hawks have only 3 road games left, so they will need to win them all to tie.
-While they were resting, other teams and players were busy trying to catch the Hawks, as a team and as individuals. Edmonton 3-2 won in a shootout in Brandon on Friday, giving them 103 points, 4 back of the Hawks. Kelowna swept their weekend series with Kamloops, putting them within 5 points of the Hawks (Portland has 2 games in hand). Kelowna also wrapped up the B.C. Division with these victories. After scoring 2 on Friday and 1 on Saturday, Saskatoon's Josh Nicholls is now at 45 Goals, tying him for first in the league with Nic Petan. Leipsic and Petan are still 1-2 on overall points with 113 and 111 respetively.

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