Friday, February 3, 2017

Portland braves traffic for big 6-5 win over Everett

"Desperation is a stinky cologne." That was a line uttered by Police Chief Grady in the 2001 comedy Super Troopers. The Everett Silvertips were a desperate team on Friday night at Xfinity arena and they and the visiting Portland Winterhawks played a game that was about as far from their playing style as you can get. Sure they notched their first power ply goal in 23 chances and sure they got four assists from overage defenseman Aaron Irving. But the Portland Winterhawks flew past an unusually loose defense and scored six goals in the first two periods en route to a 6-5 win. Carter Hart was yanked from the Everett net after giving up three goals on just 10 shots but the move had the appearance of one fueled by, yes desperation. Mario Petit came in and gave up two more goals on just 3 shots and Everett was forced to play catch up. The Hawks were led by four points from Skyler McKenzie and Cody Glass while Tuulola added his three assists to Irving's total to lead the way for the Tips.

Portland got things going in what we thought was a crazy first period at the time (the second would show us what crazy really was). Two of the youngest players were the first to connect on a goal. With Everett's defense expecting Ilijah Colina to dump in the puck, he instead caught fellow 16-year-old Brad Ginnell in stride and sent him in on a mini-breakaway. Ginnell picked the blocker, short side on Everett goaie Carter Hart for his fifth goal of the year. Everett tied things up 2:24 later and it was a desperately needed power play goal for them as well. Eetu Tuulola fired a shot on Portland goalie Cole Kehler that he could not absorb. The rebound  dropped at the feet of Bryce Kindopp and the Everett forward out it away. This was Everett's first power play goal on their last 23 opportunities. The Silvertips then took their first lead of the game on another rebound. A shot from overage d-man Aaron Irving caught Kelher on the shoulder and Eetu Tuulola slid the puck over to a wide open Riley Sutter for the easy goal.  Portland then struck on the power play to tie things up after the first at two. Colton Veloso provided the screen and Skyler McKenzie walked in tight enough to pick a corner on Carter Hart who was already down in the butterfly.

Portland retook the lead just 30 seconds into the second period. Keoni Texeira and Skyler McKenzie combined to get a shot in on Hart and Glass out-muscled Aaron Irving to the puck at the far post to poke it in. Everett came right back at the Hawks and tied the game at three. On a delayed penalty Aaron Irving fired a shot/pass at the net from a bad angle. Devon Skoleski cut off the shot and tipped it past Kehler who was down expecting a different angle. Ryan Hughes put the Winterhawks back in front as he cashed in the back door courtesy of a Cody Glass shot and Alex Overhardt redirect. Portland then took their first two-goal lead of the game as Glass found McKenzie alone in front and the diminutive forward scored his second of the game and 34th of the year. The Silvertips got back to within one as they took advantage of a really bad Portland change to go in on a breakaway and simultaneous three-on-one break. After Kehler turned Tuulola away, Sean Richards cashed in on the rebound to make it 5-4. The Hawks got a back-breaker of a goal with just 2.8 seconds left in the period though to retake a two-goal lead at 6-4. McKenzie and Joachim Blichfeld burst in on a late two-on-one break and McKenzie got a pass over to Blichfeld for the slam dunk goal.

Everett got within one and made it a tight game as Dominic Zwerger put home a back door pass from Patrick Bajkov but Cole Kehler and the Winterhawks would hold on for the big 6-5  win. Kehler's biggest save came on a two-on-one where he laid out to turn away the Tips.

Game Notes:
-The game had an 8pm start due to Portland not even getting to the rink until around 6pm. Traffic was down to one lane at one point during rush hour just north of Seattle.
-Ilijah Colina is starting to  look really comfortable. He is hanging onto the puck for longer and looking to make plays. That is precisely what allowed him to make the pass that set up the first goal of the game. He also had a pretty nifty stick lift to win  a board battle in the first as well.
-Portland scored their first power play goal thanks to a Patrick Bajkov hit from behind on Keoni Texeira. Three Winterhawks come in on him and Dominic Zwerger got involved. Brett Clayton put him in a head lock until he got out of it and reigned  blows on the back of his head. Zwerger was given a 10-minute misconduct for his actions.
-Cody Glass is up to 68 points now with 24 goals and 46 assists. That is good for  sixth in the WHL.
-The win streak hits six games now for Portland as they head back to host Seattle Saturday night. Seattle's win streak is at seven so one of theirs must end.

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