It didn’t take long for the Portland Winterhawks to bring the rain of bears from the Rose Garden crowd on Saturday night as Spencer Bennett scored on a wrist shot from the right face-off circle just under three minutes into the 5-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The play was set up by 16 year old Seth Swenson who made a nice play to hold the puck in and to register his first career WHL point, one that I’m sure he’ll remember.
The Hawks never trailed in the game, but Seattle stayed close all night to add drama and make it a fun night to be in the big barn with a large crowd and an electric atmosphere.
We had a few glitches in the press box, one self-inflicted (check the power cord first, you moron) and I believe that we eventually got the game on 98.1, but not sure how many hung around on their radios to hear it.
Nino Niederreiter continued his hot week, scoring a late second period power play goal and finishing the four game in five night stretch with six goals, two assists for eight points. He should certainly be a consideration for the WHL Player of the Week honors.
Don’t look now, but Riley Boychuk is quietly producing most every night as he now has points in eight of his last nine games and his goals have been timely. He has nine goals on the season with four of the nine being game winners, including his third period marker last night set up by a tremendous forechecking shift with his linemates Stefan Schneider and Tayler Jordan. Boychuk is just one point shy of his career high set last season, having played 38 fewer games.
Speaking of Schneider, he now has a three game point streak, posting 2-2-4 during that stretch. He also has points in four of his last five games.
For Seattle, I really am impressed with the way that they have turned their game around since early in the season. After the way the Hawks dismantled them in their first two meetings, I wasn’t sure how many wins Seattle would get. Now, I think they will make the playoffs and the U.S. Division will get all five teams into the post-season in the Western Conference.
One last statistical note…the game last night was the 1,200th home game in the history of the Portland Winterhawks. Portland is 729-396-61-10-4 at home for a winning percentage of .639 all-time in the Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Garden.
Oh wait…one more obscure statistical note…of the 10,390 goals the Hawks have scored in their history, 1,850 have been scored against Seattle…
The Hawks are now off until next Friday when the Everett Silvertips visit the Rose Garden at 7:30.
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