Overcoming Adversity…

There were a lot of opportunities last night for the Portland Winterhawks to pack it in and call it a night…thankfully, they didn’t…and they overcame adversity to get a 4-3 overtime win over the Everett Silvertips at the Comcast Arena.

Nino Niederreiter continues his torrid stretch as he scored twice, including the OT winner on a great set-up by Brad Ross, to lead the offense while Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist.

The adversity started early when referee Andy Thiessen awarded the first five power plays of the game to Everett and they capitalized on a five-on-three in the first and just two seconds after another penalty expired to take a 2-0 lead early in the second period.

Also in the first, the Hawks had both Spencer Bennett and Jacob Berglund head to the locker room with lower-body injuries.  Berglund returned to finish the game while Bennett did not.

Add in the ejection to Tayler Jordan and the Hawks were down to 10 forwards for the final 40 minutes.

Late in the third period, Radko Gudas tried to dump the puck from his own zone on a penalty kill and caught Luke Walker right in the mouth and Walker had to leave with a huge gash and some dental concerns.  Walker didn’t return either and was set to have his mouth looked at as soon as the team got back to Portland early this morning.

I don’t have any status on either Walker or Bennett currently.

Someone asked me about commenting on the officiating and I will say that when I see that Andy Thiessen will be officiating a game involving Portland, I cringe a little bit because of the recent history with games that he has called.   There have been numerous times when Thiessen and the Hawks haven’t seen eye-to-eye and it has led to frustration and additonal histrionics that, in my opinion, were avoidable.

Last night started that same way…and I feared for what the final two periods would bring after a frustration filled first 20 minutes for the Hawks.  Well…I’m happy to say that the Hawks overcame the frustration, focused on their game and winning the battles and they got the win.

Not to be lost in the win last night was the performance of Ian Curtis between the pipes.  It was the best performance by Ian in recent memory and he was really good with low shots, kicking out numerous good scoring chances with his pads.

His save on Zack Dailey after the ‘Tips had gone up 2-0 was nothing short of spectacular and the Hawks scored right after that to get the ball rolling.

Also, the penalty kill really stepped up last night, especially early, killing eight of nine chances against to help preserve the victory.

Next up, the Hawks will travel to Kennewick on Saturday night to take on the Americans.  If I get any updates on Walker or Bennett, I’ll pass them along.

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  1. Thanks for going over that, I knew we had a few run ins with Thiessen in the past, and I was about ready to tear my hair out when he ejected Jordan, but I thought, maybe, since I cant actually see it… well at any rate great game for the Hawks mentally IMO, overcoming multiple injuries etc on the road even.

    P.S. I really enjoy your blog, and radio commentary, keep up the good work :)
    P.S.S. (i know last bit, really lol) to the other readers, Ian Curtis may not have the history in Portland that Mucha had, but damned if he hasn’t faced a ton of shots in the last few games, lets try to remember that and have a little tolerance when a few get through on a night when he faces more than 40 shots.

  2. 2 things – You shouldn’t tear your hair out when a player gets ejected for spraying the ref with a water bottle and then he went on the ice and looked like he was going to go after someone… Thanks goodness your Captain stopped him from doing something even more dumb than what he did… Jordan has 5 goals 7 assists in 140 career WHL and SEVEN SUSPENSIONS
    2nd thing – Ian Curtis was great and although I am a big fan of Kurtis Mucha, the pickup of Eric Doyle is and going to continue to be large for the success of the Hawks… I would much, much rather have Ian and Eric than Kurtis and Travis

  3. Let’s face it: Andy Thiessen eats babies. Actually, he’s a bully. I’ve heard him do the same things he does to Portland to the Kootnay Ice in a game against Spokane (maybe Everett, but the opposing team was definitely from Washington). Why did the League select him to officiate at a Memorial Cup Championship. Anybody? Anybody?

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