Well..,it wasn’t a bag full of “fun-size” candy bars, but the Portland Winterhawks 2-0 win over the Spokane Chiefs on Halloween night in Spokane was still pretty sweet.
The win continues the improbable trend of success on Halloween for the Hawks as they are now 8-0-1 in nine games on Halloween in their history in Portland.
It was a very sweet night for 20 year old goaltender Kurtis Mucha, who stopped 35 shots (to match his uniform number) to post his eighth career WHL regular season shutout to tie Lanny Ramage for first overall on the Hawks all-time shutout list. Mucha also has two post-season shutouts, for a combined career total of 10.
Mucha was steady when he had to be and spectacular when called upon to be to frustrate the Spokane attack. He was in the proverbial “zone” all night and it was a carry-over from the confidence we saw from Mukes after the shoot-out win over Brandon on Tuesday night. He continued his strong play in the one-on-one battles, stopping Mitch Holmberg on a penalty shot seven minutes into the second period. The win was also the 60th of the WHL career for Mucha.
It was also sweet for Spencer Bennett, who scored the opening goal (which turned out to be the game winner) on a night when he celebrated his 19th birthday. The bus gave Benny a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday’ as we rolled out of Spokane for the long 5 1/2 hour bus ride back to Portland.
The game itself had a playoff-like intensity to it (or at least as close to it as I can remember…it’s been awhile since I’ve experienced the playoffs) and the Chiefs came at the Hawks hard all night long. The Hawks stood their ground and skated away with a very big win early in the season.
I will post some stats tomorrow comparing the opening quarter of the 2009-10 season with the opening quarter last season.
Lastly, it was also a Happy Anniversary for the Hawks coaching staff of Mike Johnston and Travis Green, as the game on Saturday marked the first anniversary of their coaching debut for Portland, a 4-1 win in Kennewick over Tri City last season.
We’re rolling down I-84, somewhere between Boardman and Arlington as I write this. The bus is dead quiet…as the boys rest up for the rematch tomorrow night at the MC.
The Chiefs are somewhere behind us on their way to Portland as well. I imagine their bus is even quieter.
Game time is 5:00 on Sunday night…you won’t want to miss it.
Share this Post