After a very long night and day of travel, the Portland Winterhawks rolled into Prince George a little before 7:00 PM this evening in preparation of the double-header on Friday and Saturday against the Cougars.
The team traveled from Portland to Everett last night, and then rolled out a little before 8:oo AM this morning for what turned out to be the 11 hour trek to PG. There were worries about long border crossings due to the Olympics starting tomorrow, but at the Sumas crossing, we were through in about ten minutes. A stop in Hope for a walk and then lunch at Cache Creek (including seeing a couple Hawks fans making the trip north at the same restaurant) and then five hours non-stop.
I find it interesting that we go through towns like 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House and so on when they measure distance in Kilometres in Canada…but I digress.
Last night’s win over Tri City seems like it was weeks ago after the trip, but it was nice to get off the schneid against the Americans in the season series. The Hawks were out-shot 41-26, but I thought the team did a nice job of limiting the high quality scoring chances that Tri City had many of in the first six match-ups.
The Hawks also did a better job of limiting turnovers at their blue line and in the neutral zone which limited a bit of Tri’s speed, transition game.
Special teams did their job as well, with the Hawks only getting two power-plays (overlapping in the first period) and they scored once, on a five-on-three, and then killed six of seven chances against (although one of those lasted one second at the end of the game).
Mac Carruth played well, and is 5-1-1-0 in the last seven. I haven’t heard who will start on Friday, but I’m sure that Mac wants to continue to play as he is on a roll and that Ian Curtis would love to get back into things against his former team. I wouldn’t be surprised if each got a start this weekend.
The Cougars proved last night that they aren’t a pushover (with a home ice win over Kamloops) despite their record. But, having said that, I’m sure the Hawks are thinking that anything less than four points would be considered a disappointment.
As mentioned last night, Head Coach/GM Mike Johnston didn’t make the trip as we is on a scouting/recruiting trip. Travis Green and Kyle Gustafson will run the bench the next two nights and then Johnston will be back for Monday afternoon.
The pre-game show for tomorrow starts at 6:40 PM on Freedom 970 AM.
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