Saturday, September 21, 2013

Portland Annihilates Prince George 9-2 in First Game of the Season

The Portland Winterhawks were simply too much for the Prince George Cougars last night and they started their defense of the WHL Championship trophy with a bang; winning 9-2. After unveiling their championship banners from last season, Portland did not suffer a hangover in the slightest bit, no doubt energized by the 9,139 present watching in adoration. The Hawks were powered by a 5 goal second period in which they made a 1-1 hockey game 6-1 and all but warmed up the bus for the Cougars to head up I-5 to Everett for their next game.

Observations From Last Night's Game:
-Presten Kopeck, who missed the Edmonton series and the Memorial Cup last season with a hand injury, scored the Hawk's first goal of the season and another, ending the night with 2 goals and an assist. Kopeck had 10 career WHL goals coming into the game.
-Portland chased Cougar's Goalie Brett Zarowny after the second period, due to the onslaught of scoring in the period. They then scored 3 more on his replacement Ty Edmonds in the 3rd.
-The 9 goals was only halfway to Portland's team record for goals in a game (18) set in 1980 against the Spokane Flyers.
-The game started to get a little messy in the 3rd period, with the scoring out of hand, the Cougar's Zach Pochiro threw an elbow/hip at Garrett Haar's head as he was skating past him. Haar was down on the ice after being tripped. Haar did not suffer an injury on the play, but Pochiro was tossed from the game with a 5 minute charging penalty and a game misconduct. He may hear from the WHL office as they have made a concerted effort to clear head shots out of the game.
-Layne Viveiros scored his first career WHL goal in his 62nd career game over 3 seasons.
-Also scoring their first WHL goals (in their first games) were new additions on the back end: Garrett Haar and Anton Cederholm.
-Only 6 Hawk's skaters did not factor in on the score sheet.
-Brendan Burke had a stellar performance, stopping 29 of 31 shots. About 6-7 of those saves were ones he really had to work for moving around in his crease. He showed a large amount of his confidence that I hope he is able to carry the rest of the way this season.
-Portland was 5 for 8 on the power play, scoring 2 goals on identical power play set ups involving Haar, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Chase De Leo.
-The Hawks used Nic Petan as a power play quarterback in the absence of Derrick Pouliot.
-Good to see Alex Forsberg jump in on a fight between Keegan Iverson and his team-mate Pochiro, when Zach clearly wanted no part of an enraged Iverson. This is a good start for Forsberg, who was badly beat in the fight, as he needs to make it up to the team he abandoned last season.
-Prince George really has few positives to take out of this game, as their Defense really looked over-matched for most of the game, especially on the penalty kill.
-The Cougar's Ty Edmonds had only played 40 minutes of WHL hockey, prior to getting yanked off the bench to replace an overwhelmed Zarowny.
-Game #2 on the season goes tonight in Seattle, more on that later.

3 Stars:
#3- Brendan Burke- He really kept this game out of hand, when the Cougars were able to put extended pressure on the Hawks.

#2- Presten Kopeck-He was a bit of a lightning rod for the Hawks tonight as his goal right after Viveiros' in the 2nd turned on the faucets.

#1- Oliver Bjorkstrand- Hard to argue with his 5 point night.

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments about the Winterhawks and their opponents. What I haven't seen is the Coaches or Media poll for the 2013-2014 Western Hockey League season. I've seen the CHL top ten poll but haven't found anything for the WHL. If you have seen it, I'm sure a lot of Hawks fans would like to see it too.