“Time, if nothing else, will do it’s worst
So do me that favor
And tell me the good news first”
– “Good News First” – Lyrics by Neil Peart
The good news is that the Portland Winter Hawks broke their scoreless streak, getting a goal at the 20:00 minute mark of the first period by Chris Francis, snapping the streak at 178:09 and also snapping a 0 for 25 streak on the power play.
More good news…the Hawks scored twice while on the two-man advantage…an area where they have struggled all season.
I thought the Hawks played a spirited game last night, playing an aggressive forecheck, especially in the first two periods, to force Lethbridge into a number of turnovers that created scoring chances for Portland. Right now, the offense is struggling to convert those scoring chances on a regular basis, but at least they are generating them.
Ian Curtis was strong in relief of Kurtis Mucha and made maybe the save of the year on Colton Sceviour with just under five minutes remaining to keep the game even at 3-3. I’m going to watch the video here in a few minutes to see the angle and if it is good, that will be submitted as a play of the week candidate.
What does it say about Max Brandl that he returned to play in third period after leaving on one leg late in the second period? Most players wouldn’t have pushed it, but he returned and played well. Hopefully he will be ready to go for the weekend dates…
The bad news…well, as we are all aware, Portland is 14 points behind the Prince George Cougars in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West after Portland picked up one point last night, but the Cougars picked up two, knocking off Chilliwack 4-1 in PG.
After the game last night, the board op at KKAD asked me during a commercial if playoffs were out of the picture. Well, I’m an optimist and won’t give up hope until the Hawks are mathematically eliminated.
It will be a tall order – 14 points with 22 games remaining. Portland does have four games in hand on the Cougars and two games remaining in the head-to-head match-up. Even if the Hawks win all six games, they will still be two points behind PG.
Right now, the Cougars magic number to clinch is 31 points, or 16 games if all games are decided in regulation time. So, any combination of 16 regulation wins for PG or 16 regulation losses for Portland will decide the fate of the Hawks.
This weekend is going to be tough with Tri City on Friday and the Vancouver Giants on Saturday. Here’s to hoping that the Hawks will step up to the challenge and finally break through for that all-important next victory, its been too long since the last one…