Sunday, March 27, 2016

Everett Holds Home Ice, Takes Down Portland 3-1 in Game Two

Matt Fonteyne had the game-winner Saturday

The Portland Winterhawks wanted a split of the first two games, desperately Saturday night at Xfinity arena in Everett. They showed a lot more desire, by throwing their weight around, to the effect of 109 checks (40 more than the previous  night), but they still faced a hot goalie in Merio Petit, who has now stopped 57 of the first 58 shots he has seen in the series. 26 of which Portland launched in this one. Everett, once again had far too much time and space and is using it to throw off Hill, by faking a shot and getting him to commit and then promptly picking a corner. On the defensive end, they again did a great job of taking away the outlet and stretch passes that Portland loves and making them earn their way up the ice and only let them create scoring looks, after winning numerous boards battles.

Portland did open the scoring Saturday night, as Rihards Bukarts scored his eighth goal of the year vs. Everett, after corralling the rebound of a shot from Dominic Turgeon on the power play and putting it past a down and out Petit. Everett tied up the game later in the period as Brandon Ralph found some space and after getting a great pass from Devon Skoleski, got a shot on net in tight. The rebound came right back to him and he poked the rebound home. It was Ralph's second goal in the series. Then after Dario Winkler earned Everett a power play, Matt Fonteyne scored on the man advantage, by looking off Portland's defense and goalie with a shoulder fake, before beating Adin Hill, giving Everett the 2-1 lead.

Throughout the game's second period, Everett took advantage of the long change, by trapping Portland;s players on the ice, while they changed. This was how they would score their insurance goal, as Remi Laurencelle found a pocket of room and the tired Hawks could not close on him as he caught a pass in the slot and quickly beat Hill. After the Laurencelle goal, Portland started to throw around the body a lot more and tightened up their defense around their net and in the corners, but it was too little too late.

Twice in the game's last period, they got pucks in the crease in behind Petit, but both times, there was just not quite enough to force going to get them to trickle past the 'Tips goalie. There is a phrase that gets used a lot in hockey and that is that a goalie is "seeing the puck well." That phrase encapsulates Petit's play so far this series. He never seems to be out of position  and has gotten some help from the right roll of the puck. The first time they got a puck behind Petit, Alex Schoenborn got a rebound the almost snuck it past Everett's goalie. The quick-thinking netminder was able to look back and sweep it out of danger, just in the nick of time. The second time, Portland's Cody Glass made a great pass to Evan Weinger, in behind Everett's defense and Weinger beat Petit through the right armpit. It was not quite enough to get it to roll over the line, though, before Petit sprang into action. In that case, Colton Veloso was there, but was flat-out tackled by Everett's Brian King, before he could get his stick on the puck, on what would would have been a tap-in. There was no penalty called on the play. The other great look in the game's final frame came when a rebound came right to Dominic Turgeon and the Hawk's captain could not quite get his stick on the puck, even though he had a wide open net to shoot at.

Everett's Petit stopped 25 of the 26 shots he saw, while Portland's Hill stopped 34 of the 34 he faced.

Game Stats:
Link here
Game Notes:
-Portland completely mixed up their lines in what has to have been a desperate attempt to shake some offense out in the mix up.
-They put Rihards Bukarts with Dominic Turgeon and Alex Schoenborn and while it took awhile to get going the three of them created some chemistry towards the end of the game. Those three have played a lot together in the waning moments of tight games, so it was not exactly like starting out at ground zero.
-Alex Overhardt is in coach Jamie Kompon's dog house again. He was moved all the way down to the fourth line and was replaced as third line center, first by Ryan Hughes and later by Skyler McKenzie. The latter has spent most of the season as a left wing and only recently has he been placed in the center role. It's clear Portland's coaching staff wants more from the talented center.
-Keegan Iverson is finding a home in the playoffs. He was one of Portland's best players all night, as he created room for his linemates, by throwing checks early and often. I would like to see him get more shots net though, as he has a wicked wrist shot. Iverson and Rodrigo Abols have made quite the pair as they created a lot of room, by throwing a lot of checks. I liked them best, when they were working with Cody Glass. They were moved around to Glass, Hughes and McKenzie during the game.
Everett has several players, who practice the whole holding your stick in their ribs and then falling down move. This appeared to be what Winkler did to earn the power play that they scored on in the first period.
-Ryan Hughes is struggling to get going in the playoffs. He is one of the smaller guys on the ice and it is clear he is not used to the style of game that is being played. In one instance, he tried to stickhandle around somebody, right in front of his own net and lost the puck.
-This could be a big reason, why McKenzie had to be thrown into the third-line center role.
-Towards the end of the game, Everett's Noah Juulsen got Portland's Rihards Bukarts in a combination arm-bar/headlock. He then threw him to the ice in a move that could have easily dislocated the Portland players shoulder. Bukarts was given a game misconduct after he argued with the referee after no call was made.
-At the end of the game, Everett fans were seen throwing debris at Portland players, as they left the ice. I was in attendance a few years ago, when this happened at the end of a lopsided Portland wins. Seeing it now, after a big win is disturbing. There is obviously a small group of fans in Everett that are completely classless. They are giving the rest of the very warm and welcoming fans I've met up there a bad name.
-Game three goes Tuesday night at the Moda Center. Portland will be a very desperate team, as they hope to get within a game in the best-of-seven series.
Winterhawks in the NHL:
-Ryan Johansen had an assist for Nashville in a 5-1 win over his former club, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Winterhawks in the AHL:
-Brendan Leipsic scored the insurance goal for Toronto in their 5-3 win over St. John's.
-Taylor Aronson potted two assists for Milwaukee in their 5-4 shoot out loss to Texas.
Winterhawks in the ECHL:
=Anton Cederhom had an assist for Kalamazoo as they beat Wheeling 5-1.

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