It was an incredible environment at Xfinity arena; very playoff like, with a lot of Everett fans, I'm sure, looking forward to unseating the team that has won the Western Conference 4 years in a row. There seems to be an overall feeling of: "lack of respect" among the fans and the team and both groups were pumped for the game. My seat had a clear view down the Everett tunnel and starting goalie: Carter Hart was pumped up and lined up for the start of the game a full 3+ minutes before the referees preceded him on the ice. Everett kept the party going after Dawson Leedahl notched a goal to open the scoring.
Portland brought the physical play after the goal, however, leading to Evan Weinger throwing an open ice hit and feeding a rushing Keoni Texeira to tie the score. The Hawks threw more hits in the first period then they had in the previous game altogether. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored as well in the period and the Hawks dominated play in the period.
Everett seemed to turn the play a little in their favor, though a full ice rush by Adam Henry and backhand goal, took the air out of the place. Pretty poor overall defensive play by Everett, especially he 3rd pairing of Lucas Skrumeda and Jordan Wharrie, who passed the puck several times right in front of their own play and could not handle the aggressive fore-check. Later in the period, Petan found Adam Henry, who had jumped up into the play and the Hawks had a controlling 4-1 lead. Everett Coach Kevin Constantine then pulled the 16 year old Carter Hart in favor of Austin Lotz. This marks the 3rd time Hart has been pulled against Portland this season and 4th time in 10 games, that Everett has been forced to pull their starter.
I was somewhat surprised that Lotz did not get the start to begin with, but Constantine went with the hot hand, over a Goalie that has fared better over his career vs. the Hawks. In talking to the 2 Everett fans behind me, I learned that Lotz has really struggled with his confidence recently and has given up a lot of weak goals. Petan welcomed Lotz by scoring his 12th goal of the year.
In the 3rd period, the only goal was scored by Bjorkstrand, whose shot ripped through the net in a way that reminded me of the old NBA Jam video game. Oliver now has 54 goals in 52 games, moving into a tie for 18th with Grant Sasser, for most goals in a season by a Winterhawk. He now has 135 goals all time, putting him in 7th. He also has 99 points now, 1 behind Tim McGauley and Trevor Cox for the WHL lead.
Nic Petan had 1 goal and 2 assists, giving him 80 pts on the season and moving him past, former Teammate Ty Rattie for 6th in career franchise pts with 349.
Adin hill stopped 27 of 28 shots, earning his 29th win of the season.
Below are the stats that I was able to keep while at the game. Unfortunately, at this time, Time On Ice is a little too difficult for me to do while at games. The hits(64 total) are really what stood out to me as Portland seemed more ready for the playoffs than Everett. They probably threw close to 30 hits in the first period alone as a team.
Face offs were also something Portland excelled at as a team. Both of these things, along with Everett being forced to ride a 16 year old goalie, have to make Portland confident, should they play against Everett in the playoffs.
|Player||TOI||Shots||Faceoff %||Hits||Blocked Shots|