-Below are the stats that I collected for the Game 4: 8-5 Portland Winterhawks win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. Oliver Bjorkstrand led the way with a 5 point night.
|Player||TOI||Shots||Faceoff %||Hits||Blocked Shots|
-Portland jumped out on Seattle and as a whole finally found their offensive game Thursday night. Seattle did not seem ready for the pressure and their defensemen were nth eons victimized by turnovers, setting up scoring chances.
-The Hawks scored 2 quick goals only one of which was from someone you expected to score. I mentioned in my game 3 post that Chase De Leo had yet to notch a point in the series, yet he was one of Portland’s most consistent players. He scored an early goal by getting his own rebound and was the best player on the night as a whole. The other Winterhawk goal was scored when 4th line Center Alex Overhardt forced a turnover during a line change and found a gap over Taran Kozun’s left shoulder from a sharp angle.
-This goal, as well as, the overall solid play from Overhardt-Skyler McKenzie-Mitch Walter has forced Jamie Kompon to play them more as a whole, rather than just mixing in McKenzie with the 3rd line.
-Portland had 7 of the first 8 shots on goal and seemed to have way more energy than Seattle.
-One of the biggest changes for Portland and it had a predictable impact on their overall game was smoother zone exits for their D-men.
-Blake Heinrich’s outlet passes are the best on the team and he did not struggle as much as the team’s other D-men on Tuesday. He was even better Thursday and was one of the driving forces on both ends of the ice.
-Another player I thought had a poor series so far before Thursday night’s game was Paul Bittner and he made an obvious effort to use his large frame more in the offensive zone during the cycle. This freed up many more scoring chances for Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand, who both saw significant improvement in shots on goal; as did Bittner himself.
-The other most consistent forward besides De Leo in this series has been Dominic Turgeon, whose play seems to be built for this time of year. He scored a goal, but made an even bigger impact with two solid back-checks that took away scoring chances from Seattle.
-Seattle D-man Jared Hauf struggled in this game after having a fantastic Game 3. The worst play he made was a hit he threw on Turgeon as he was coming out of the box; an obvious interference call. This led to a pretty goal from Nic Petan that gave Portland a 4-1 lead in the 2nd.
-Taran Kozun struggled in this one, for the first time in the series and he was pulled after giving up Portland’s 5th goal (scored by Keegan Iverson).
-A bad sign though for the Hawks, on a night full of good ones, was Adin Hill’s shaky net-minding. Shea Theodore scored Seattle’s 5th goal right through the right armpit of Hill, who made several great stops on the night, but let up a couple stinkers as well. Barzal’s backhand on a rush up the ice for Seattle’s 3rd goal was also not the prettiest. He has to play better in Game 5, as I’m positive Seattle will play better.
-Game 5 goes Saturday at 6pm in Portland. We are also ensured a Game 6 next Tuesday in Seattle, for another 2-for-1 deal. Seattle’s attendance was roughly half as much on Thursday as it was for Game 3. Though I guess it would be the same amount of box office revenue.