Saturday, March 21, 2015

Portland Falls to T.C. 4-2 in Pivotal Late Season Game

Portland fell behind 2-0 early, struggled to climb back in the game and tie it and were ultimately felled by a very strange goal by Tyler Sandhu in the back half of the 3rd period, before ultimately falling 4-2 in Kennewick.

In what has become an alarming trend for Portland, the Hawks gave up goals from Austyn Playfair and Tyler Sandhu in the first 6:32 of the game. Portland responded, getting 18 shots in the period and following up with 21 in the 2nd, but could not beat an impressive Eric Comrie until their 39th shot of the game with 2:02 left in the 2nd period.

The Hawks ice breaking goal was scored after some great pressure leading to a Grade "A" scoring chance for Miles Koules the Winnipeg Jet's drafted Goalie: Comrie turned away. However, the puck ended up coming to Keegan Iverson who pumped a shot on net that Comrie stopped, but Chase De Leo dug loose the rebound and Keegan Iverson performed Hockey's version of a slam dunk, getting the Hawks within 1.

Then in the 3rd period after Tri City's Parker Bowles failed to score on a gaping net, Portland's Dominic Turgeon sprinted down the ice and around the defense, finding Miles Koules in the slot for a great shot that beat Comrie high blocker side, tying the game.

Tyler Sandhu, the former Winterhawks Bantam Draft pick then was driving the net with under 10 left in the 3rd, when a Richard Nejezchleb shot deflected off of him as he was falling to the ice with a Portland D-man. The net also came off if it's moorings in the mess and the "goal" was reviewed.

Now I am aware that the WHL has access to a better video feed then we are seeing on WHL Live, but my guess would be that they just did not see quite enough to say that he kicked it in or that the net came off first. Still a terrible way for Portland to end up losing.

Tri City, in my opinion, has the 2nd worst video feed in the WHL (first going in a landslide to Kootenay). They have got to get a better system, as the viewer is left unaware of whether this was in fact the right call or not.

The Americans added an empty netter from Beau McCue and notched their first win on the season vs. Portland. The Hawks are now 8-1 on the season vs. Tri City and will face them in the last game of the regular season: Sunday in Portland.

Here are the stats I gathered for Friday night's game:

Player TOI Shots Faceoff % Hits Blocked Shots
Bittner UNK 4 1/2=50% 1 0
Petan UNK 9 14/22=63.6% 4 0
Bjorkstrand UNK 4 N/A 7 0
De LeoUNK410/19=52.6%21
De JongUNK0N/A00
-Since I've been gathering stats, this is the most I've seen Nic Petan and Keegan Iverson get shots on net. They both seem to be playing with a playoff urgency which is good to see from a 19 year old and an 18 year old this late in the season.
-Petan generally sets guys up more, but Tri City seemed to expect this and attempted to pull off of him to make sure Oliver Bjorkstrand and Paul Bittner's sticks were tied up. While Petan came very close to scoring, he did not, so this pended up working.
-Anton Cederholm seems to be playing much better the last couple weeks. He is getting shots on net, just straight up manhandling smaller forwards in his won zone and his positioning is near flawless. This is what I kind of expected form him all season and it showed up here and there, nut it sure is good to see him play this way when it really matters.
-While Cederohlm has looked great, the Hawk's other NHL drafted D-man Blake Henirich has not. He was beat on the back door goal Sadhu score din the first and has made some poor choices in his own zone the last several games. I certainly hope he can round his game back into shape.
-Good to see all three center-men win more than 50% of their draws again.
-I did not keep Time on Ice stats but I would certainly expect the numbers for Portland's top players to be in the upper 20s. Alex Overhardt and Brendan De Jong did not see much ice and I do not know if Michell Walter saw more than one shift all game.
-By my count, Portland had 53 shots on net and Comrie stopped 51. 17 of those were from Portland's top line, all of which he turned away.

-Elsewhere in the U.S. Division the Everett Silvertips beat the Victoria Royals on the road: 4-3 off 3 points form REmi Laurencelle and goals from 4 different players. This mane the Royals are now in 1st place all alone at 92 points, while Portland sits 2 points back at 90. Both teams play the next two nights in a row: Everett at home vs. Victoria and then in Spokane on Sunday. Portland heads over to Seattle to play the T-birds tomorrow night, before coming back to Portland and taking on T.C. on Sunday.
-How these 4 games turn out will determine who wins the U.S. Division and who will face who in the playoffs.

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