One Down…One To Go…

Tyler Wotherspoon

The Portland Winterhawks continued their dominance over the Seattle Thunderbirds last night at the Rose Garden, winning 6-3 in front of another large crowd (9,018) on a night when the Hawks celebrated the past by honoring the Portland Buckaroos.

Tyler Wotherspoon picked up an assist in his second straight game after stepping in for Brett Ponich who has missed the last two games and quietly, Wotherspoon is having a very nice rookie season.  His offensive numbers won’t blow you away, but you should focus on his +10 (including a +3 last night) ranking in 29 games.

Ironically, the Hawks generated their most dangerous scoring chances in the opening period last night, only to trail 1-0 off a very nice individual effort by Prab Rai short-handed in the final minute of the period.

The Hawks out-shot Seattle 16-5 in the opening frame and probably had close to 10 scoring chances denied by Calvin Pickard.  Once Taylor Aronson made a tremendous play to set up Nino Niederreiter on the power play eight minutes into the second, I could sense the Hawks would find a way to win that game.

Ryan Johansen got the game winner and I thought that Todd Vrooman’s comparison with Ottawa Senator forward Jason Spezza was bang-on in describing Johansen.  The Johan has great vision, and uses his tall and lanky frame to ward off opponents to create scoring chances.  His game winner last night was just determination to get the puck and then picking his spot to bury it, a veteran play by the 17 year old rookie.

Also nice to see Nino pot a couple goals as he now has goals in three straight and 30 on the season.

The Hawks have now beat Seattle by scores of 6-0, 6-1 (twice), 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 as well as 4-3, 5-0, and 2-0.  With a win tonight, the Hawks will match the 10-0 record that the 1980-81 team put up against Seattle in the season series.

Game time is 7:00, pre-game show on Freedom 970 is at 6:40…talk to you then.

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