Sorry for the lack of posts this weekend, between two games and early morning swim meets on Saturday and Sunday, I just didn’t have the inclination to sit down and type out my thoughts…
It really was a tale of two entirely different games for the Portland Winterhawks – falling 4-0 to Spokane on Friday and then rebounding with a 6-3 win over Tri City on Saturday. Friday night, the Hawks looked mentally fatigued and unsure of what to do with the puck and it appeared that they lacked confidence in the offensive zone. Saturday night, they looked refreshed and extremely confident with the puck.
Sometimes, hockey at this level is hard to figure out…
For me…the weekend turned around once Ty Rattie scored about a minute after the Americans had taken a 1-0 lead under two minutes into the first period. Tri City has owned Portland early in games this season and a quick goal was often times the catalyst for a three goal outburst that we’ve seen too much of lately. Instead, Troy Rutkowski made a great play to set up Rattie in the left circle and his wired wrister tied the score and you could see the bench get emotionally lifted by the goal.
From there, it was even until Taylor Aronson put home the winner in the final minute of the second period. Aronson has five goals on the season, but four of them have been credited as the game winner…not a bad ratio.
After the game, it was determined that Brad Ross had tipped in Ryan Johansen’s entry shot for the second goal, giving Ross a four point night with two goals and two assists. It is the second four point night of the season for Ross and the third of his WHL career.
On the back-end, while he lost an assist on the play above, Luca Sbisa had his best game in a Hawks sweater, going a +4 and breaking up a number of scoring chances in front of Mac Carruth. Sbisa logged extra minutes with Joe Morrow not dressing for the game and Tyler Wotherspoon and Derrick Pouliot getting spot shifts throughout the game.
And, lastly…it was a nice bounce back for Carruth, after his last start lasted 52 seconds against the Americans, stopping 29 of 32 for the 11th win of his rookie season. His play on the 5-on-3 for over a minute in the second period helped keep the game game tied at three when it was a chance for the Ams to take the lead.
With the win, the Hawks go 2-3-0-0 at home against Tri City, the same record they had last year at home versus the Ams.
With the Americans going an 0-fer on the weekend, dropping all three road games to Chilliwack, Portland and Seattle, it opened the door for the Everett Silvertips to tie them at the top of the U.S. Division with a game in hand on the Ams. Everett will be the Hawks next opponent tomorrow night and I know that Portland would like nothing better than to do the same thing to Everett that they did to Tri City…game time is 7:00 at the MC for the final home game of the 2009-10 regular season.
Get there early and buy parking in advance as the Blazers will playing at the same time in the Garden…
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