Monday Morning Catch-Up…

You never know how much you take the Internet for granted until you don’t have it…as that was my case for much of the weekend.  The hotel in Chilliwack’s service never did work when I was there and it was also down for the majority of the game on Friday night in Kamloops…

It was an interesting weekend…a weekend where the Hawks should have won all three games, instead of just one…lets take it one step at a time:

Friday vs. Kamloops — A 5-4 loss that could have been had by Portland with a little better goaltending from Kurtis Mucha and a little better luck on a few calls that waved off apparent Hawk goals.

It appeared (to me, at least) that Ty Rattie had scored on a partial breakaway in the second period when he got hauled down as he put a shot on Justin Leclerc.  Leclerc, the puck, and Rattie all went into the net but Sean Raphael immediately waved the goal off.  From his angle, I don’t know how he could have made such a definitive call.  If it isn’t a goal, it should have been at least a power play or penalty shot for Portland, but, in the end, it resulted in nothing more than a face-off.

The disallowed goal at the buzzer was a bang-bang play and could have gone either way.  I think the Hawks were more upset that on the previous play, when the Blazers iced the puck, that the game clock didn’t stop right on the whistle and about a second ran off that wasn’t added back on.  Add that second, and Radim Valchar’s goal would have counted for sure.

All that being said, it was a solid road effort by Portland and a disappointing start to the three-in-three.

Saturday vs. Chilliwack — a 5-3 loss…probably the most disappointing of the entire season.  The Hawks were in complete control, leading 3-0 late in the second period before penalty troubles and panic set in for the Hawks in third period that allowed the Bruins to rally for four third period goals and the win.

Eight consecutive power plays against, with probably four or five of those as no-brainer calls and three or four as questionable, was the main culprit for the rally by Chilliwack, but from the press box I could just feel a bit of panic set in with the Hawks.  I could just sense the current flowing for Chilliwack, and the circuits blowing for Portland.

I will say that the penalty shot awarded to Kevin Sundher by the officiating crew of Jon Stephenson and Brett Montsion just may have been the wierdest call I’ve ever seen.  The play had been blown dead for at least a second before Montsion signalled for the penalty shot.  What bothered me most is that Montsion would not go to the Hawks bench to explain his call to the Hawks coaching staff after it happened.  They did have a conversation at the bench after the game, but he should have come over to explain the call at the time instead of staying on the “happy side” of the ice.

Nice to see Stefan Schneider hit the 10 goal mark in the game.  As a converted defenseman, 10 goals is a decent number and he has shown his versatility all season long.

Tyler Wotherspoon looked steady in his limited minutes in the game and he just adds to the Hawks young d-corps that will be ready to roll next season for Portland.

The bad news from Saturday was the broken hand sustained by Tayler Jordan early in the first when he was checked by Bruins d-man Brett Ward.  Jordan will miss the remainder of the season.

Sunday vs. Everett — a 2-0 win…the game that I wasn’t looking forward to.  After a long drive home with Rob Gagne, the Hawks equipment manager, from Chilliwack, losing an hour to the time change, and the disappointing previous two losses, I didn’ t have a good feeling about Sunday.

Gags and I drove back to Portland and the team went as far as Everett on Saturday night and treated Sunday like a road game with the bus rolling into the MC a little after 2:00 PM.  It was an interesting drive for us, going from bare, dry pavement to driving snow showers at multiple times during the trip.   But, an iPod full of Rush kept us awake and alert and we rolled back into town at 3:45 AM (4:45 with the time change).

The start of the game last night wasn’t pretty with bouncing pucks all over the place and two teams that looked like they would rather be elsewhere.  Portland settled down after Chris Francis’ goal and played a solid road game (at home), limiting Everett’s chances by playing smart, safe, some would say boring, hockey.  Exactly what they needed in the final game of a three-in-three weekend and against a team that hadn’t played since last Tuesday.

A good recovery by Mucha after the game in Kamloops, making saves look simple and very much under control.  While his 19 save performance wasn’t spetacular, it was solid and just what the doctor ordered.

With the win, the Hawks finish above .500 at home against Everett (3-1-0-1) for the first time since Everett joined the league and it extends the Hawks winning streak at home to three games.

That’s it for now…next update from Kelowna as the Hawks go on their last roadie of the year…

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