Weekend Wrap…

Photo Credit: Bryan Heim

At the time, I didn’t think that Nino Niederreiter’s deflection goal in the final minute of the first period would stand as the eventual game winner, but that was the case last night as the Portland Winterhawks withstood a Prince George rally and skated away with a 3-2 win to wrap up a two-win weekend for the Hawks.

The “4 letter word” line of Niederreiter with Brad Ross and Ryan Johansen scored three times in the opening period and it looked like the Hawks were poised to have an easier night against the Cougars, but penalty issues and some hard work by the Cougars took away that reality.

It was nice to see that line get it going as they had struggled to find the net, while creating a lot of chances, in the past five games where they combined for just three points amongst them.

I thought that five-on-five the Hawks dominated the game and if not for some quality netminding by Hudson Stremmel and a couple shots off the underside of the crossbar it could have been a large margin of victory game for Portland.

At the other end, Ian Curtis played very well for the second straight night, stopping 50 of 52 shots to gain his 21st victory of the season.  Curtis’ save percentage is now at 91.0% for the season, a number that puts him in the top 10 for all goaltenders in the WHL in that category.

You had to feel for the line of Chris Francis, Ty Rattie and Luke Walker this weekend.  They generated probably more scoring chances than anyone and didn’t hit the scoresheet.  I would estimate their quality scoring chances at 20-25 for the weekend…keep that up and the puck will start going in at some point.

It may not have been a pretty weekend for the Hawks, but four points is four points and now they prepare for a very tough week of hockey with two home games against the Tri City Americans on Tuesday and Saturday sandwiched around a home game with the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night.    All three games will be in the Rose Garden.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ok…now what?

After the 2010 Winter Olympics concluded yesterday in Vancouver with Canada’s 3-2 overtime win over the USA in the Gold Medal hockey game, I can’t wait for 2014 in Russia.

The game itself wasn’t as exciting as the first match-up between the teams in the preliminary round of the tournament, but it certainly had it’s share of drama and it ended on Sidney Crosby’s goal in the extra time.

Zach Parise sent the game to OT in the final minute and I thought that the USA had the momentum, especially with Roberto Luongo looking shaky in net for Canada.

It was a great end to a great hockey tournament and congrats to Canada for the Gold and to the USA for a strong Silver.

And, I ask again…now what?

How am I going to spend my days without eight hours of curling?  How will I get by for four years without coverage of bobsled, or luge, or skeleton?

I guess I’ll survive, but I certainly enjoyed what this Olympic event brought…well done to Vancouver for hosting it with all the adversity of warm weather and some early setbacks at the event.

Lastly, it was a joy for me to sit down with two former Winterhawk greats last night at the MC with Cam Neely and Dennis Holland.   Both are great individuals who are proud of their heritage with the Hawks and they both are people who the Hawks and their fans can be proud of as former players of this organization.

You could see Neely’s eyes light up when he was talking about the 1983 Memorial Cup win and his last minute goal to get the hat trick and to seal the win over Oshawa.

Holland will be honored on Saturday at the Hall of Fame ceremony…he is certainly deserving.

That’s it for now…

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  1. Andy, are the games on March 5th and 6th still going to be aired on Comcast 15.

  2. Jim,
    nope…there are no more games that will be shown on Comcast 15 this season.



  3. Hi, I was wondering why Cam Neely didn’t drop the ceremonial puck as was announced in the Oregonian. Any idea why the change in plans?

  4. Susan…
    I’m not sure either…


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