In short, it was exactly their game plan coming into the series and something they also did well at in Game 1. Since that Game 1 loss, Portland has responded by increasing possession time and passing around the Everett zone like they were the Harlem Globetrotters.
Everett in Game 6 somehow stopped this spread out attack, by getting sticks in passing lanes and starting breaks the other way. There were several rushes by the top line of Leipsic-Rattie-Petan, that were turned aside by well placed sticks and successful gambling by the Everett defense.
The good opportunities the Hawks did get on goal, Lotz was ready for. This is impressive for a Goalie in his 17 year old season, who was pulled in 2 straight games at home prior to Games 3 and 4. He made 43 saves in Game 5 including a couple heart-breakers for Portland fans. One of these was on Taylor Leier, who despite having many golden scoring chances in this series, has only one goal. It seems that Lotz is saving his best saves for anything coming off the 18year old's stick.
Despite blowing the chance at advancing, the Hawks have got to feel confident heading into the Comcast Arena tonight. This is a place they have won 6 of 7 games through the regular and post seasons. They have scored 18 goals in the 2 games there this series.
The game plan for the Hawks is simple: control play, position yourselves well defensively, in order to limit Everett scoring chances and don't try and do too much. They have so many talented forwards, but it seemed like some of the Hawk's players were trying to go one on five late in the game.
Facing elimination tonight, though, the Hawks will be getting everything Everett has left in them. This should be a close, tight checking game, not the blowouts of games 3 and 4. It should be a good one.
Game 6 goes at 7:05 tonight.
-Joshua Winquist has 6 goals in the series and seems to have beat Mac Carruth high glove side on all of them.
-Michael Zipp had an assist in Game 5, meaning all four Everett 16 year olds have at least one point.
-Everett moved Ayrton Nikkel out of the lineup and had Cole McDonald move back to defense, which seemed the right move as he made several good defensive plays.
-15 year old Kevin Davis played again for Everett, this time as a fourth line forward.
-Keegan Iverson was held out of the lineup for Portland, possibly because of his late hit after game 4 in Everett that started a melee. He has played well in the series, but seemed to let his hot head get away from him in that moment.
-Landon Oslanski again played on Everett's top line with Winquist and Tyler Sandhu, though he committed a couple in-opportune penalties.
-Preston Kopeck's play in this one moved him from the fourth line, mid-game, up to the third line with Taylor Peters and either Paul Bittner or Adam DeChamplain.
-Nick Patterson's look back at game 5.
-Paul Buker's piece about game 5, mentions that the ice in the Coliseum's ice surface was terrible, possibly due to it being 70+ degrees outside.
-Connor Honey missed game 5 in the Kelowna-Seattle series and could miss another after being suspended for a hit on Kelowna D-man McKenzie Johnson, who is out with a hurt shoulder.
-Interesting piece about why the Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades were swept in the first round.
-In former Hawk news: Sven Bartschi, who has been playing most of the year with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL scored on Saturday and has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 30 games. He has gone up and down from the NHL with the Calgary Flames, most recently being demoted on March 9th. He has only one point in 10 games in the NHL this season.
|Sven Bartschi, Hawk from 2010-12|