Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Winterhawks Advance with a 5-4 OT Win/Game 6 Stats and Analysis

The Portland Winterhawks got an overtime snipe from Captain Nic Petan with just 59 seconds remaining in Over-Time and advanced past the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning the series 4 games to 2.

Portland withstood an early charge from Seattle and was able to obtain leads of: 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3, all of which Seattle was able to overcome. Unfortunately for Seattle, Portland's 4th lead of the night was the series winner. The Hawks were led by 2 points apiece from Miles Koules and Oliver Bjorkstrand.

Here are the stats I compiled for Portland's 5-4(OT) Game 6 Win:

Player TOI Shots Faceoff % Hits Blocked Shots
Bittner 29:15 3 N/A 6 1
Petan 32:53 4 23/38=60.5% 1 1
Bjorkstrand 33:24 6 N/A 4 0
De Leo27:30720/31=64.5%40
-Cederholm logged a mammoth 42:07 of ice time in Game 6. He has to be very grateful that he did not have to play another game on Wednesday night (the if necessary Game 7. Late in the 3rd period and into the over-time, Portland was using a rotation that looked like this: Cederholm/Viveiros-Heinrich/Texeira-Cederholm/Henry. He was playing about 2 out of every 3 minutes late in the 3rd and OT.
-He also had an impressive 17 checks in the game, showing that even though he was playing a ton of minutes, he was still making life difficult for Seattle's forwards.
-Josh Hanson (the #6 D-man), skated his last shift a little before halfway through the 2nd period. Unfortunately for him, this was a long shift that saw him facing Shea Theodore one on one in his own zone. Theo went lateral, leaving Hanson stumbling and then backhanded a shot past Hill, getting Seattle within 1 at 3-2 and swinging the momentum. I tend to defend players who are at the end of their shift when they get beat badly, but apparently Jamie Kompon did not buy that excuse.
-It should be noted that Hanson may not have been 100% entering Game 6.
-Seattle's Calvin Spencer left this game with an apparent injury, severely limiting how physical Seattle's forwards could be. The T-birds were already without big bodies: Keegan Kolesar (injury) and Justin Hickman (season ending injury/no longer on roster) and could not afford missing another big forward. Portland won a lot more board battles then they probably would have had two of these three been available.
-Miles Koules not only notched his first goal of the series, he won a board battle and backhanded a feed to a charging Petan, setting up the game winning goal. Koules did not play well in the series' first 3 games and it's great to see the over-age forward finally hitting twine, rewarding his improving play. The goal he scored was off a great individual effort in which he swung around Seattle's Turner Ottenbreait and snuck a wrap-around past Taran Kozun.
-Koules has been clutch for Portland this season, notching an OT winner and assisting on 2 others now.
-Scott Eansor played so well for Seattle in the series and along with Shea Thodore were the two best T-birds in the series in my opinion. Eansor's speed really gave Portland trouble, leading to many breakaways for him. Eansor had 5 goals in the series, including 2 in game 6.
-Oliver Bjorkstrand only needed 8:53 to finally beat Taran Kozun. He added another off a physical play in the corner that led to a short side snipe and finished the series with 14 points.
-Alex Schoenborn is a fun player to follow around on the ice. He may not always have the puck on his stick but does the little things to irritate opposing players. During one period, he yanked on Barzal's jersey, slowing the speedy Center-man and then put a push in on Roberts Lipsbergs' back during a face-off, causing the Latvian forward to lose his cool. As long as, he can toe that line and not step over, picking up a penalty, an agitator like him is great to have in a playoff run.
-Blake Heinrich was solid for most of the game, however, he did commit two different minor penalties, one of which Seattle scored on. Seattle had been operating at 38.5% entering Game 6 on the power play, so it was not smart on the 19 year old to get caught out of position and take the penalties. Seattle ended the series, scoring 6 goals on 17 chances (35.3%).
-Adin Hill looks to have regained his form as he made several diving saves, including one where he pulled the puck right off the goal line. His aggressive play, also limited the great looks Seattle got. Hill ended up with 46 saves on 50 shots It was his first 40+ save performance since March 18th vs Spokane. Hill seems to be at his best when he is aggressive and though nit may not always look great, he is able to keep the puck out when it matters. A goalie like Hill can be hard for shooters to figure out.
-Nic Petan just seems to skate effortlessly out on the ice. He made a great charge into the Seattle zone leading to his goal, despite having already played 32 minutes in the game. He has now played nearly 80 games of post-season hockey. He has proven to be unflappable in the game's pivotal moments.

-Portland will start their second round series vs Everett at the Xfinity arena on Friday.

Elsewhere in the WHL:
-Everett eliminated Spokane in 6 games, after former Winterhawk Brayden Low scored in the 3rd over-time Tuesday night, giving them a 2-1 win.
-The game was the longest in Silvertip's history at 103:43.
-Everett lost two pivotal D-men in the game, when Noah Juulsen and Tristen Pfeifer both left with injuries. It is unknown, as of yet, how long they will be out, if at all.

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