Sunday, February 28, 2016

Portland Ends Trip On High Note With a 4-3 OT Win Over Kootenay

Adin Hill stopped 32/35 shots and Rihards Bukarts had the game-winning-goal
Per the WHL rules, you are only allowed to enlist the aid of three overage players per season. Overage players are those that are 20 years old in the year the season begins. Portland used their three allowed overage players Saturday night in Crnabrook B.C., to escape with a 4-3 OT win. Defenseman Blake Heinrich scored a goal (his third in two games). Alex Schoenborn had his first career four-point night, as he scored twice and set up to the two other Portland goals. Then, there last overage; Rihards Bukarts scored the overtime game-winner with 56 seconds left in the extra session. Playing against the team with the worst record in the WHL, Portland could not afford to drop this game and due to their oldest players, they escaped with an important victory.

Portland opened the game with six straight face off wins and utilized one to set up their first goal. Blake Heinrich sent an outlet pass to Alex Schoenborn and the San Jose Sharks' draft pick split the Ice defense and beat goalie Wyatt Hoflin for his 25th goal this year. The Ice got that goal back as Zak Zborosky fanned on a shot in the slot and Jesse Zaharichuk found the loose puck and beat an un-suspecting Adin Hill. Both teams had chances later in the period, but it was the last place Ice that took the lead. Zborosky received a pass at the Portland blue line and deftly played the puck off the boards and to himself in the Winterhawks' zone. While the play looked  alike a very borderline offsides call, no such call was made and Zborosky made a nice move on Portland's Jack Dougherty and beat Hill for his 25th goal this year.

The Ice then took a two-goal lead on Portland in the second period and seemed well on their way to sending Portland to their first four-game losing streak this year. The way they got their two-goal lead was something that Keoni Texeira will be thinking about for awhile. Texeira was fleeing Kootenay fore-checkers when the puck rolled off of his stick and right into the Portland crease where Hill was not aware it had gone. Noah Philp quickly jumped on the puck and poked it past Hill for his sixth goal this year. The Ice held a two-goal lead for just over four minutes. On the "bump-up" shift right after Portland killed a penalty, Keegan Iverson, who had just gotten out of the box, drove play into the Ice zone and fired a shot toward the Ice net that Alex Schoenborn deflected home. It was Schoeborn's second goal of the game. He already has eight goals more than his previous season-high with nine games to play. The Hawks tied the game, again on a "bump-up" shift, later in the period. Rodrigo Abols, who was just out of the box, made a nice drop pass to an onrushing Blake Heinrich. The overage d-man drilled a shot past Hoflin and just like that, the game was tied.

Both teams had great chances in the third period, but could not find the twine. In the strangest sequence of the game, Schoenborn drove the net, got a shot in on Hoflin and was checked by Kootenay d-man Troy Murray, into Hoflin. While Schoenborn was being checked, one of his skates appeared to come up and catch Murray in the neck area. Rihards Bukarts found the puck in the play that followed and drilled a shot off of the crossbar. At that point, a linesman blew the play dead, as he saw that Murray was bleeding. Murray was sent down the Ice tunnel to seek medical attention and did not return. It does not appear that the cut was too serious as Murray did not go straight to the bench and waited until play had stopped.

As neither team was able to score, Portland went to overtime for the second straight game. The Ice had their best chance in the overtime session, when Jason Wenzel was sent in on a clear breakaway that Hill was able to stop. Then Portland was able to get the winner from Bukarts as he caught Hoflin going the wrong way, on a wrist shot from just inside the Ice blue line. Portland ends their road trip with a 3-2-1 record for seven points out of 12 possible. They next play, after a six-day break, Friday night at home against Tri-City.

Hill played well, stopping 32 of the 35 shots he faced, while Hoflin stopped 31 of the 35 he faced.

Portland only got one power play chance, but they failed to score on the man-advantage for the third straight game. Kootenay not only did not score on their two power play chances, they gave up two goals, immediately following them.

Game Stats:

F/O %
Abols 0 1 1 2 - - 0 0 2
Turgeon 0 1 1 5 16/21 76.2% 2 1 0
Iverson 0 1 1 4 - - 1 0 2
Nagel0001 --420
De Jong0002  --100
Game Notes:
-No Evan Weinger and Skyler McKenzie again tonight, for the second straight night.
-Without those two, coach Jamie Kompon often went with a third line of Ryan Hughes on left win with Alex Overhardt (center) and Colton Veloso (RW). Hughes did a pretty good job of skating the left side and did not get sucked down low. This is a challenging task that Kompon is giving to a kid in his 16-year-old season and speaks to how much he already trusts the Edmonton product.
-Portland struck two posts on the night and was honestly a bit unlucky to have the game even go to the extra session. They continue to have fluky things go against them. Texeira hit the same spot on the ice twice and had trouble skating/carrying the puck through. This comes after a slew of missed chances that were due to the puck rolling on their best scorers.
-Blake Heinrich is on the hottest streak of his career in Portland. He has five points over the past two games. He was somebody I was expecting to provide a little more scoring from the back end and he is finally starting to produce. He has really good ice vision and is the best Hawks' d-man at picking the right time to pinch or activate.
-Rodrigo Abols has three minor penalties over the past two games and they were all due to him not skating enough and getting caught in bad spots. He is 6'5" and tends to use his length as a crutch in reaching out too much and committing tripping penalties.
-I need to run Portland's record when Alex Schoenborn has five or more shots. It certainly seems like when the overage forward gets involved and gets shots going on net, the Hawks are more successful. His skating never ceases to impress me. In just three years time, he's gone from being a forward that while playing with Nic Petan and Brendan Leipsic, kept slowing down the play and turning the puck over, to a guy who carries the play for Portland's most offensively explosive line.
-Dominic Turgeon simply dominated the face off dot against Kootenay. He won his first 10 draws on his way to winning over 75%.
-Portland gets six days off now as they next play at home vs. Tri-City.
Winterhawks in the NHL:
-Derrick Pouliot had an assist for Pittsburgh as they took down Winnipeg 4-1.
-Seth Jones scored and Brandon Dubinsky had an assist as Columbus won in the shoot out 4-3 over . Dubinsky netted the shootout winner for the Blue Jackets.
-Colton Sceviour had a goal and an assist for Dallas, but they fell 3-2 to the N.Y. Rangers.
-Brendan Leipsic got his first career NHL assist for Toronto as the Maple Leafs fell to Montreal 4-1. Leipsic was demoted back to the AHL on Sunday.
-Ty Rattie scored for St. Louis in a 5-2 win over Carolina. The Blues promptly "awarded" the young sniper by re-assignign him back to Chicago of the AHL on Monday.

Winterhawks in the AHL:
-Craig Cunnigham netted a hat-trick for Springfield in their 5-2 win over Wilkes Barre/Scranton. He would end up getting called up on Monday to the Arizona Coyotes. In nine previous games in the NHL this year, Cunningham has one assist.
-Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a goal on Mac Carruth as Lake Erie edged Rockford in overtime. Carruth stopped 35 of 38 shots. The Icehogs' goalie, who had just signed a three-year AHL deal this last summer, was signed to a one-year NHL deal on Sunday. This makes him eligible to be called up to the Chicago Blackhawks.
-Rob Klinkhammer notched his 11th goal of the year for Bakersfield as they fell in a tight one to San Antonio 4-3.
-Taylor Leier scored his 18th goal of the year for Lehigh Valley and the Phantoms took down Hartford 2-1.
Winterhawks in the ECHL:
-Cam Reid had a goal and an assist for Reading as the Royals edged Adirondack 5-4 in a shoot out.
-Tristan King had an assist for Allen as the Americans put up a touchdown on Wichita 7-4.
-Patrick Wellar recorded an assist for Alaska in a 5-2 loss to Colorado.


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