The old saying goes that everything is better by the dozen and the Portland Winterhawks took that to heart at the ShoWare Center in Kent last night, winning their 12th consecutive game over the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1.
Give Seattle credit, with nothing but pride to play for, they battled hard and threw everything they had at the Hawks and forced Portland to play a physical game and work for everything they got.
Mac Carruth continued his strong play, winning his fourth straight game by stopping 39 of 40 shots on the night to finish out a strong rookie season for the 17 year old netminder from Shorewood, MN.
The line of Brad Ross/Ryan Johansen/Nino Niederreiter did all the damage offensively with each of them registering a goal and Ross and Johansen each added a helper for two point nights. The three 17 year old players combined for 88 goals, 109 assists and 197 points for the season…just an incredible statistic for three guys who are just now eligible for the NHL Entry Draft.
The win improved the Hawks road record to 23-13-0-0 and 46 points, one more point than they earned at home. The 91 points marks a 48 point improvement from last year and it is hard to fathom with 91 points that the Hawks could finish no higher than fourth in the U.S. Division.
It was also the final regular season games for Chris Francis and Stefan Schneider, two guys who have meant a lot to the organization in their time in Portland. Unfortunately, Eric Doyle spent the last part of his final season on the sidelines and I’ll have more thoughts on their accomplishments once the post-season ends…hopefully sometime in May.
It was great to have so many of the Hawks faithful at the ShoWare Center last night and the photo shows the large 90+ group from the Booster Club that made a ton of noise to the right of my broadcast location.
They are seen celebrating Ryan Johansen’s game -winner in the third period.
The group was loud from the get-go and I know the players heard them and were very appreciative of the support in an away barn.
Nice job Boosters and to everyone who made their way to Kent last night!!!
That’s it for now…preview of the series with Spokane (dates available at www.winterhawks.com) later this week…