Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Parenteau gets redemption, helps Tri-City edge Portland 4-3
In a game of odd plays and bounces, Keegan Iverson's first goal of the game, in the first period, may've been the strangest. After defenseman Conor MacEachern created zone entry with a nice bank pass from his own zone, Keegan Iverson's drive to the net, was turned away by Parenteau. His save popped the puck into the air above the crease though. Forward Parker AuCoin, who was covering for defenseman Dalton Yorke, took a mighty swing at the puck, but missed so much that his back made contact with the puck. After striking his back, the biscuit bounced into the vacant net for an Iverson goal. Tri-City responded with the first career WHL goal from 16-year-old rookie Keltie Jeri-Leon. This goal was also due to a strange bounce as Brad Ginnell's clearance attempt deflected off Brett Leason and Carson Focht's following shot attempt was blocked right over to a waiting Jeri-Leon. The rookie forward smartly adjusted over to his forehand and beat Portland goalie Cole Kehler.
Brendan De Jong, who was caught flat-footed on the Americans' first goal was part of Portland's very quick response. Just 17 seconds after T.C. scored, a slow and soft pass from Cody Glass across the T.C. blue line found it's way to De Jong. The defenseman powered a one-timer off of American's d-man Juuso Valimaki's stick and over Parenteau's blocker. This was De Jong's third goal of the season and gave Portland their second lead of the game. Iverson gave Portland a two-goal lead less than four minutes later. After Joachim Blichfeld drove the zone on the power play, he showed great patience finding an open Iverson in the slot. Iverson's deceptive wrist shot picked the blocker-side corner on Parenteau. Blichfeld demonstrated on that play why he has earned a spot on Portland's top power play unit.
Tri-City scored twice in the second period though, to tie the game up. First, they notched a power play goal of their own as a Juuso Valimaki shot from the point bounced off of De Jong's back and past Cole Kehler. It was the Hockey Gods evening up their favors for the earlier Iverson goal. Then, with both teams skating four-a-side, Tri-City tied the game. On a rush up the ice, Vladislav Lukin fired a shot against his momentum and past Kehler. After 40 minutes of play, the two U.S. Division teams were knotted at three.
The deciding goal of the game was scored by a likely suspect in an unlikely manner. Defenseman Dalton Yorke fired a shot from the right wing that was stopped by Kehler. He followed his own shot, beating MacEachern to the loose puck and throwing the puck into the crease. Michael Rasmussen was completely locked up with d-man Carter Czaikowski in behind an out-of-position Kehler. The bigger forward out-muscled Czaikowski just barely enough to just nudge the puck across the goal line before Kehler could get back. Czaikowski had good positioning on Rasmussen but just did not have quite enough force to keep him from the frozen rubber. In a game of inches that play ended up being the difference. Keegan Iverson had a great chance to tie the game late and notch a hat-trick but his shot went just wide and bounded off the outside of the net.
Kehler stopped 35 of the 39 shots he saw and was handed his third loss of the year. Portland was 1/4 on the power play, while Tri-City was 1/7. Both PPs are operating at over 34 percent. The Americans is at 34.2, while the Winterhawks is at 34.0. They are the top-two in the WHL.
-With two assists, Cody Glass kept pace with the red-hot Sam Steel. Both have 19 points and are atop the WHL in points. Glass is tied for most assists in the WHL with Brayden Burke of Lethbridge. Both have 13 helper points.
-Michael Rasmussen had a goal and so has 11 in just 10 games played so far this season. He is on pace to be the first 50 goals in 50 games in the WHL since Portland's Oliver Bjorkstrand in 2014-15.
-If he continues this trajectory, it seems likely he will be a top-10 pick in next June's NHL draft.
-Keegan Iverson has five goals, but they have all come in just three games. This was his second two-goal game of the year. He had only two multi-goal games all of last season.
-Cole Kehler now has eight games started to Michael Bullion's four. Entering this season, it appeared that Bullion was the primary goalie, but Kehler seems to have wrestled the starting job away in the early going.
-Overage goalie Rylan Parenteau was recently acquired by Tri-City from Prince Albert. This seems to signify that Evan Sarthou's injury is a long-term one.
-Carter Czaikowski played a two-on-one about as well as you could want in the second period. He does not have the reach and so made up for that with perfectly reading when and where the pass was coming across and picking it off. He then quickly pushed the puck up the ice and out of the zone.
-Portland continually rolled out the Colton Veloso-Alex Overhardt-Joachim Blichfeld line out there against T.C.'s top line of Vladislav Lukin-Michael Rasmussen-Tyler Sandhu, every chance they got. There seems to be a real effort at getting this Portland line matched up vs. the top line for the other team. Overhardt and co. did a pretty good job in this game, limiting the amount of good looks that Rasmussen and his group were able to get.