Saturday, October 8, 2016

Winterhawks tame Warriors 5-2

After a brief four minutes of disaster Tuesday night, this road trip through the East Division has been going smoothly for Portland. On Friday night in Moose Jaw, after falling behind 2-0 early, they rallied, scoring five straight. They were, once again, led by Cody Glass. The WHL's leading scorer had three more points for 15 on the season. He's had back-to-back three point games and ten points over his last four outings. Skyler McKenzie had two goals for Portland now sits second in goal in the league with seven. Cole Kehler turned away 20 of the 22 shots he faced and has now won all four games that he has started for Portland.

The Winterhawks fell behind in the first period behind two goals from the Warriors over a a three minute span. First Jaiden Halbgewachs was first to the puck behind the Portland net and he found Brett Howden all alone. The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick swiftly netted his fifth goal on the young season. Then Portland again lost a puck battle behind their net and the puck ended up in it. Henri Jokiharju was double-teamed by Luka Burzan and Tanner Jeannot, losing the puck. It came free to Ryan Bowen in the slot and it was 2-0 Moose Jaw. Lane Gilliss, Evan Weinger and Ryan Hughes got the shift right after Moose Jaw's second goal. They responded immediately with a goal, cutting the lead to one. Weinger won a battle in the Moose Jaw corner and found Gilliss alone. The center beat Moose Jaw goalie Brody Wilms for his first career WHL goal. Portland was able to tie the game before the end of the period, while on the power play. Ryan Hughes drove the zone up the left wing, drawing three Warriors' defenders to him. He then deftly flipped it to Skyler McKenzie in an open area of the ice. The sniper beat Wilms and the game was tied. This was Portland's 10th power play goal on 24 chances, in the young season.

From start to finish, the second period was a thing of beauty for Portland. They out shot Moose Jaw 19-1 and out scored them 3-0. Cody Glass was in on all three goals. First, the Hawks took the lead when Caleb Jones' point shot was deflected on net by Glass. Skyler McKenzie was first to the rebound for his second goal of the game. Then, Moose Jaw turned the puck over because of pressure by Glass and McKenzie and Keoni Texeira's point shot slipped past Wilms. Finally, Glass drove the zone and because he was given the room, fired a heavy wrist shot in, for his fourth goal of the year.

Portland relied on a steady Cole Kehler in net to put the game away in the third for the 5-2 road win.

Game Notes:
-Skyler McKenzie and Rodrigo Abols were the most hated Winterhawks in Mosaic Place Friday night. McKenzie made excessive contact with Wilms and was given a goalie interference penalty. After that, McKenzie seemed to draw Warriors to him likes flies after every whistle. It certainly didn't help that he fired a shot on net after the whistle in the same period. McKenzie provides the team with someone who is willing to piss off the other team.It certainly helps that he's backing up his after-the-whistle play with goal scoring.
-Abols also irritated the opponent with a hit from behind. This caused Josh Thrower, to lose his cool late in the third period. Thrower drew the instigator on his fight with Abols and a 10-minute game misconduct. He jumped Abols after a rush to an icing in the Warriors' zone and lost his cool, jumping the Latvian overage forward.
-Conor MacEachern also had a fight in the game. He looked pretty good overall. He was more comfortable; jumping up into the play and creating looks for team mates.
-Joachim Blichfeld was scratched in favor of Abols. The deadline for dealing Abols or releasing Blichfeld is arriving rapidly. I believe they have to do one or the other, by the end of this weekend.
-Short and sweet tonight, as  I had some duties with Dub Network, that drew a lot of time away from this blog

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