Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hawks End Eilvertip's Season in Game 6: 5-1

The Portland Winterhawks have not found a more comfortable place to play this post-season then Comcast Arena, Everett. After losing Game 5 at home, they journeyed up to Everett and easily dispatched the home team, in order to advance to the second round for the fourth year in a row. Everett has now lost in the first round six years in a row. Portland now awaits the outcome of the Seattle Kelowna series to see who they will face in round two. Seattle has a 3-2 series with Game 6 going tonight in Kent. If Seattle wins, Portland will play them starting Friday at home. If Kelowna comes back forces Game 7 on Wednesday and wins, then Portland will play Spokane at home on Friday.

Game 6 did not start well for the Winterhawks on Monday night, as on the power play, Ty Rattie made an errant pass then ended up on Everett penalty killer Reid Ptryk's stick. Petryk was off to the races and beat Mac Carruth, for the first short-handed goal of the series. Just over 5 minutes later, Taylor Peters was able to keep the puck in the Everett zone on a poor clearing pass. He got the puck to Seth Jones who made a move on the far boards before charging the net and roofing a backhand shot past Auston Lotz, to tie the game. Portland would then take a lead they would never relinquish when, with 5 minutes left in the period, Derrick Pouliot's point shot caused a rebound that found Oliver Bjorkstrand. Bjorkstrand quickly put it right back on net, beating Lotz for his second of the playoffs.
Oliver Bjorkstrand

Portland would turn up the pressure in period two, out-shooting Everett 20-4 and putting two more past Lotz. The first one would come, like many Portland goals in this series, on the power play, when Tyler Wotherspoon's pass deflected off a Silvertip right onto the stick of Bjorkstrand in the slot. Oliver quickly wristed it back Lotz for his second of the game. Not to be outdone, with a little over a minute left in the period, Seth Jones pinched in on a long rebound and snapped a shot past Lotz that knocked the water bottle off the top of his net.

Then, in the third period, Portland did not let up, scoring one more and limiting Evrett to an astounding one shot on goal in the frame. The Hawks just simply controlled the puck for the majority of every shift and if the Tips did get the puck, they were too tired to mount an attack. Taylor Leier would get the insurance 3:47 into the period, after a great cycle between him, De Leo and Bjorjstrand finished with him in prime position in the slot. Leier beating Lotz has got to be sweet redemption for Taylor, as Lotz has performed highway robbery on him many times thorughout the series.
Taylor Leier

Mac Carruth, in one of his best games in the series, stopped 12 of 13 shots. He will need to be ready for the next series, in which he is sure to face a bigger workload. Austin Lotz, in another great performance stopped 47 of 52. Portland was 2/5 on the power play and Everett was 0/3.

3 Stars:
#3- Austin Lotz- Not his best performance, but I have to give him a star based on how amazing he has played for most of the series. Everett does not win any games unless he stands on his head in Games 1 and 5.

Seth Jones

#2- Seth Jones- Has been shaky for large parts of this set but came to play in Game 6. He was more aggressive then he has been.Keeping pucks in at the point and not being afraid to go one on three. He finished with 2 goals in the game, his only ones of the series. Fitting for a guy that got booed every time he touched the puck.
 #1- Oliver Bjorkstrand- 2 goals and 2 assist in the game. He has improved so much this year. He no longer goes down as easy as he did at the start of the year and the chemistry that his line has developed is a pretty thing to see.

Random Notes:
-Taylor Leier had a goal taken away in the second after the referee ruled that he knocked the puck down with a high stick.I looked at the video and did not agree with this assesment, thougn it is a tough call to overturn, once you've made it.
-Brendan Leipsic also argued that he had put a puck past Lotz in the second period. Play was never whistled dead and the puck does appear to go, at least, on the goal line.
-Portland is 4-0 this series when they play Keegan Iverson and Paul Bittner, instead of Joe Mahon or Dominic Turgeon. Look for Coach Travis Green to keep Iverson and Bittner with Taylor Peters, as the fourth line played fantastic in Game 6. This line has been makeshift, but mostly has been Preston Kopeck centering Joey Baker and Adam De Champlain.
-Landon Oslanski, put on the ice, for the last 40 seconds of his WHL career, instead took a classless slash on the wrist of Seth Jones. He spent the last part of his career sitting in the box instead, a fitting end for a frustrating series for the 20 year old Defensman.
-Connor Cox, the other Tip's 20 year old, had an amazing series and, in my opinion, was their most consistent D-man.
-Lotz has most certainly increased his stock in this June's NHL draft with his performance this series.

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