Thursday, February 18, 2016

Portland Gets OT Winner That Counts From Caleb Jones and Beat Victoria 2-1

Turgeon was in on both goals in Portland's win
The Portland Winterhawks played another "daylight classic" Monday in Veterans Memorial Coliseum and because of Adin Hill's stellar goaltending and another overtime winner from defenseman Caleb Jones, they beat Victoria 2-1. Jones now has two overtime winners with Monday's and the penalty shot winner he had vs. Tri-City earlier this season. He had another the previous game in Seattle, but it was dis-allowed. Jones is now in a nine-way tie for most OT winners this year in the WHL. He is the lone d-man in that group of nine.

Victoria opened the scoring Monday afternoon, with continued pressure in the Portland zone, after the penalty on Portland's Skyler McKenzie had expired. Matthew Phillips Portland d-man Keoni Texeira to a loose puck and swung it out in front, where both Tyler Soy and Matthew Peckford both got a look at it. Peckford was able to poke the puck past Adin Hill for the 1-0 Victoria lead. Portland's best chance of the first period came off a great outlet pass from Rodrigo Abols to Alex Schoenborn that ended with the latter clanking a shot off the right post.

Portland was able to get the equalizer in the second period off a great series of plays by Dominic Turgeon and Evan Weinger. Victoria defenseman Ryan Gagnon was attempting to clear the zone up the left boards, while under heavy fore-checking pressure from Turgeon. Weinger intercepted the outlet pass and got it right to Turgeon behind the defense. Turgeon's initital shot was stopped by Royals' goalie Griffen Outhouse, but the rebound was put home by the Hawks' captain to tie the game.

The third period was more tightly defended than the previous two and neither team was able to break through, setting up another overtime session for the Winterhawks.

Portland was able to get the overtime winner from the same set of three that set up the one that was called back their previous game out. Jack Dougherty won a battle in the Portland corner and quickly got it to Turgeon in the neutral zone. Turgeon rushed up the ice and found an open Caleb Jones. The rookie d-man got in alone on Outhouse and beat him to get Portland an important two points.

With the win, Portland tied Spokane at overall points with 61 and win the first tiebreaker with more wins than the Chiefs. That puts Portland back into the U.S. Division playoff bracket in the third spot and Spokane in a wildcard spot.

Hill was stellar once again for Portland, stopping 29 of the 30 shots, while the overall WHL leader in GAA, Griffen Outhouse stopped 27 of 29.

F/O %
McKenzie 0 0 0 4 1/1 100% 6 1 2
Glass 0 0 0 0 5/14 35.7% 4 0 0
Schoenborn 0 0 0 1 - - 4 1 0
Veloso0001 --500
De Jong0000--410
Czaikowski0003  --110

Game Notes:
-Keegan Iverson returned to the lineup for the first time since he received a headshot from Turner Ottenbreit just over a week previous. Iverson played down on the third line, meaning he most likely was not quite at 100% health-wise. He still tied for second on the team in shot on net with three, showing he still has a knack for getting a shot through, even when not feeling at his best.
-Turgeon is taking far fewer face offs over the past few games than he usually does. He had consistently been taking in the range of 20-30 draws for most of the games this year, but has been diminished to 10-20 recently. Part of that could be coach Jamie Kompon trying to conserve him for the playoffs and part of it could be players like Ryan Hughes and Alex Overhardt improving at taking draws as the year has gone on. I think Kompon is confident that any of his four centers could win an important draw for him.
-Rodrigo Abols earned himself some penalty killing time for the first time since early this season, with how well he's played as of late. If he continues to play at his recent rate, he helps make up for the loss of Rihards Bukarts, who is still out with an upper body injury, likely received during a late check to the head by Everett's Noaj Juulsen.
-Hughes, Brett Clayton and Tanner Nagel were Portland's best fore-checking unit again. They really get after the opponent's defense and were successful in driving possession, when matched up with the other team's bottom six. This could be an important area to watch as the post-season nears. Kompon trusts those three so much, they could continue to see somewhere in the range of 10-12 minutes a night (where I would guess they are currently).
-Joe Hicketts is fun to watch, even when he does things that you despise as a fan. He continually tried to get under Portland's forwards skins and even when he took a penalty, he almost coaxed Portland's Alex Schoenborn into retaliating and evening things up.
-Skyler McKenzie has developed an elite skill that may cement him a spot in the top-six, even when Bukarts gets back in the lineup. That skill, is an ability to use his speed to get right in tight on opponents and use his strength to lift their stick, take the puck and turn play in the other direction. He plays so well in the neutral zone, where he creates most of his turnovers.
-Portland next heads on a road trip through Alberta, which begins in Lethbridge on Friday.

Winterhawks in the NHL:
-Nin Niederreiter scored his 10th goal of the year for Minnesota in a 5-2 win over Vancouver.
-Niederreiter notched two assists for Minnesota, as they kept their recent little hot streak going with a 5-3 win over Calgary.
-Derrick Pouliot assisted on the eventual game-winner for Pittsburgh, as they double up Detroit 6-3.
-A goal and an assist from Matt Dumba helped Minnesota win another one, 5-2 over Edmonton.
-Jannik Hansen and Sven Baertschi each scored for Vancouver, but they fell to Anaheim 5-2.
Winterhawks in the AHL:
-Craig Cunningham notched his 12th of the year for Springfield as they beat Bridgeport 4-3.
-Taylor Aronson scored the lone goal for Milwaukee as they fell to Grand Rapids 4-1.
 -Rockford tried to pull starting goalie Michael Leighton and replace him with Mac Carruth, but were unable to as Carruth was not listed on the game roster due to a clerical error. Rockford ultimately fell to Manitoba 5-2.
-Ty Rattie scored for Chicago, setting them up with a 2-0 lead. Iowa came back though and won in OT 3-2.

Winterhawks in the ECHL:
-Thomas Frazee had an assist and scored the goal that forced the game to overtime for Atlanta. They ended up falling to Utah in OT 5-4.

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