Sunday, February 21, 2016

Portlands Puts The Boot to Medicine Hat 8-1

Alex Overhardt had one goal and three assists in the win
The Portland Winterhawks scored early and often Saturday night in Medicine Hat, getting goals from players throughout their depth chart in a big 8-1 win. The seven goal deficit was the biggest of Portland's season so far. Evan Weinger notched two goals and an assist and Alex Overhardt had a goal and three assists in the lopsided win. This has to make coach Jamie Kompon feel good as over the last couple of weeks, he healthy-scratched both of the forwards due, in my opinion, to lack of offensive production. The Winterhawks got all four points out of their weekend and are 2-0 so far in their six-game Central Division trek.

Portland opened the scoring early once again Saturday night. After Alex Schoenborn took an early penalty, he got redemption in the way of his 23rd goal of the year. Cody Glass beat out an icing call and worked the puck to Keoni Texeira, who found Schoenborn in some space in the Tigers' zone. Schoenborn ripped it past the right-gloved goalie Nick Schneider's blocker-side for the early 1-0 lead. Schoenborn has been a source of recent goals, so it could not have been a huge surprise that he scored. Defenseman Conor MacEachern, though, has not scored in a long while, so him scoring Portland's second goal was a bigger surprise. Alex Overhardt set up the goal with two great plays. First, he kept the puck in Medicine Hat's zone by stopping a clearance along the boards and then he backhanded a pass right into the slot where an onrushing MacEachern was waiting. MacEachern wired his shot low and to the left of Schneider and it was quickly 2-0.  Schoenborn got his second goal on the night, later in the first on the power play to make it 3-0 after one. The goal was set up by Caleb Jones driving the net and firing two quick shots on Schneider. Both Rihards Bukarts and Schoenborn got shots on with the latter getting his shot in the Tigers' net.

It would get no better for Medicine Hat in the second period, as Portland kept converting on their opportunities. They made the score 4-0 on the power play, after a Caleb Jones dump in was corralled behind the Tigers' net and Dominic Turgeon snagged the puck and snuck it in in one movement, surprising Nick Schneider. Evan Weinger made it a five-goal game later off of Alex Overhardt's fifth straight face off win. He used his size to shield off a Tigers' defender so he could walk in alone on the Tiger's goalie. He waited out Schneider and beat him blocker-side for the goal. Medicine Hat finally found a way to beat Portland goalie Adin Hill, as Max Gerlach pounced on a loose puck and beat him glove-side to cut Portland's lead to 5-1. That brief glimpse at happiness was short-lived for the Tigers though as Portland answered with a goal from Alex Overhardt. The center-man out-muscled a Tiger forward to the puck and walked in off the boards into a prime shooting lane he sniped a shot to give Portland their five-goal lead back and effectively ending Schneider's night.

Nick Schneider was replaced by overage goalie Mack Shields to start the third period. Schneider faced a total of 32 shots, stopping 26 of them, through two periods of action. Overhardt and Weinger continued to have great nights through as they scored a goal off a shot from the former and a rebound out home by the latter. This was Weinger's second goal of the night and it is his third career two-goal game. Portland beat Shields for one more goal in the game as Skyler McKenzie converted the rebound of an Alex Schoenborn shot for his eighth goal of the year and Portland's eighth on the night.

Adin Hill has been playing out of his mind recently and kept it going this night. He stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced. Shields faced seven shots in relief and stopped five of them.

Portland was 2/4 on the power play, while Med Hat was 0/4.

Game Stats:

F/O %
McKenzie 1 0 1 3 2/2 100% 4 0 0
Glass 0 1 1 2 8/19 42.1% 2 1 4
Schoenborn 2 1 3 8 - - 4 1 2
Veloso0222 --102
De Jong0001  --100

Game Notes:
-Portland got the depth scoring they have been left wanting for and they got it all in one game. Weinger and Overhardt both busted through and unlike most of the season, they converted on the great chances they had. Three goals between the two forwards that Kompon benched over the last two weeks. They were both all over the ice with Weinger using his size to create problems for Medicine Hat and Overhardt dominating at the face off dot. They along with linemate Colton Veloso were Portland's most explosive line Saturday night.
-Keegan Iverson was out of the lineup with a "tbd' suspension for his kneeing major Friday night vs. Lethbridge. I do not think he will be forced out of more than one game for the hit.
-Rihards Bukarts returned to the lineup for Portland after missing three games with an upper body injury.
-It was nice to see Skyler McKenzie get rewarded for how well eh has played recently. He scored the last goal of the night, but it by no means meant that he was someone taking advantage of lackadaisical play at the end of a blowout. His speed caused issues for the Tigers' defenders all night and created all kinds of opportunities for his teammates.
-Nick Heid had to be excited to play against the team that shipped him out of town, but the rest of his team did not do him any favors in his search for revenge. His most notable play was a fantastic one to poke the puck away from Skyler McKenzie as the small forward had a two-on-one developing.
-I have criticized Portland for most of the season for taking too long to set up scoring opportunities and trying for the pretty play, rather than just getting a shot on and getting an ugly goal or two. They are now finding a way to convert off of those pretty set ups. They are often getting out-shot, but rarely out-chanced as they take decent scoring chances and turn them into prime ones with a little patience and skill.
-Portland's d-men did a great job of driving the play and keeping the Tigers off balance for most of the game. It seemed clear that Portland's speed throughout the lineup, but especially on the back-end caused problems for Medicine Hat.
-Portland's road trip continues with a trip to Calgary for a game Tuesday night vs. the Hitmen.
-Spokane beat Tri-City 4-2 and that coupled with the overtime loss the previous night, means they are one point behind Portland for third in the U.S. Division. Seattle lost to Everett 4-3 and the Hawks are now just two point behind the T-birds for second in the division.

Winterhawks in the NHL:
-Joe Morrow assisted on two of Boston's seven goals in their 7-3 win over Dallas.
Winterhawks in the AHL:
 -Brendan Leipsic notched both his 15th and his 16th goal for the Toronto Marlies in their 3-1 victory over Portland.
-Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for Lake Erie in regulation, but could not convert his shootout attempt and they fell to San Antonio 3-2 in the circus.
-Taylor Leier scored twice and added an assist for Lehigh Valley, as they fell to Bridgeport 5-4 in the shoot out. Unfortunately he could not convert his attempt in the circus as well. Leier has nine points in his last five games.
-Nic Petan had an assist in Manitoba's 4-1 win over Milwaukee.
-Rob Klinkhammer was in on both goals, scoring one of them, in Bakersfield's 4-2 loss to Texas.
Winterhawks in the ECHL:
-Anton Cederholm scored his second career goal, a day after scoring his first as Kalamazoo doubled up Colorado 6-3.
-Kevin Young had an assist for Reading as they edged Gasper Kopitar and Macnhester 4-3.
-Troy Rutkowski set up the game-tying goal for Evansville with just over two minutes to play. Ultimately, though, they fell in OT to Missouri 4-3.

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