The Portland Winterhawks came out guns a blazing in the opening 20 minutes Saturday night at the Rose Garden, out shooting the Seattle Thunderbirds 22-3 in the first period but could only muster a 2-1 lead after missing a number of great chances and some solid goaltending by Calvin Pickard.
Seattle maintained the bend don’t break mentality through out the rest of the contest, tying the game in the second period before forcing overtime and winning the shootout for their second consecutive shootout victory.
Gotta give Ryan Johansen credit…after playing in Washington, DC, on Friday night with Columbus, he boarded a plane today and flew back to Portland, arriving in time to play in the game at the Garden. That’s quite a back-to-back trip. He had a nice set up on the Brad Ross goal in the first period and created a few chances but you’d have to think that he was a bit mentally and physically fatigued from the travel and game action. I expect him to be better tomorrow against Lethbridge and then on Wednesday in Everett.
Also good to see Taylor Peters get the Hawks first goal tonight, he does so much that doesn’t wind up on the score sheet, it is good to see him rewarded by driving hard to the net. Brendan Leipsic had a nice pass for the goal after some strong board work by Tayler Jordan, who now has assists in back-to-back games.
Keith Hamilton didn’t see much of the puck for 30 minutes tonight, but was called on to help get the Hawks to the overtime, stopping all 16 shots he faced in the third period. He now has a 2.69 GAA and a .925 save % in four starts. Mac Carruth backed up tonight and is very close to getting back into game action. Michael Tadjdeh has been reassigned.
With Joe Morrow and Tyler Wotherspoon nursing some minor injuries, Stephane Robidoux came back and played tonight. I’m not sure how long he’ll remain with the team, but I’d expect him to play tomorrow night against Lethbridge.
Lastly, I got the rare chance to sit with my family for the second period tonight as Todd Vrooman ran solo with the call of the action. It was strange to not be in the press box and I told my wife that it was strange not to be talking while play was going on. I also realized just how non-emotional and analytical I am now watching the game. Prior to becoming a broadcaster, I was a vocal fan, yelling for my team and often times yelling at the officials. Now I would feel strange doing that. At some point I’m going to return to being a fan again…how I will react then?
I’m sure Todd did a good job for those watching on WHL Live and listening in the building. Todd will get his chance to run the show in a couple weeks when I miss back-to-back games in Kamloops and Kelowna while I’m in So Cal visiting Disneyland with my family. I know he’s ready for that and looking forward to it.
That’s it for tonight…
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