Well…for the majority of the game, the Portland Winterhawks dominated territorially, as evident by the 46-23 edge in shots, but in the end, the Seattle Thunderbirds skated away with a 4-2 win.
The common perception is that preseason games are more about the process than the result and I was pretty happy with the process the Hawks used last night. Good speed, especially from the defense, and a strong forecheck kept Seattle bottled up most of the night.
Special teams are always a bit of a crap shoot early in the preseason as there isn’t a lot of focus put on them in the early part of training camp and they were the difference last night as Seattle went 3 for 10 on the man advantage while Portland went 1 for 9.
Kyle Jahraus made a case to stick with Seattle as a 19 year old, stopping 44 of 46 in the win. Jahraus had a 4.80 GAA in the SJHL last year but he seems to play better in the WHL. He has played just under 100 regular season minutes in the WHL and has not allowed a goal. Go figure…
I think a week of practicing and scrimmaging against teammates had both teams eager to take out frustrations on an actual opponent as both sides took some undisciplined penalties. I would expect those to lessen as the preseason advances.
The second period scrum in front of the Seattle bench should have never taken as long as it did to sort out by referee Jason Nissen. It probably hurt the Hawks as they had the definite momentum rolling and then Seattle scored just nine seconds after play resumed 10 minutes after the scrum and they played better after that.
Did Joe Morrow’s shot go in and out late in the third period? In the regular season, video review could be used as that will now be in effect in the WHL this season.
All in all….a solid performance, if not the desired result, for the Hawks in their opening preseason game of 2009-10. Next up is the Everett tournament starting Friday morning…I’ll have full reports from Everett next weekend.
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