The skill of the Portland Winterhawks was on full display last night at the Rose Garden in a 6-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Of the six goals the Hawks scored, five were basically scored into empty nets after perfect passing plays, the other was on a beautiful penalty shot attempt by Brendan Leipsic.
Make no mistake, Brandon Anderson is a quality goaltender for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. There is a reason that the Washington Capitals signed him and Portland made his night a long one with pin-point passing to create open looks.
Sven Bärtschi scored the first two goals of his WHL career, both on slam dunks off set-ups from Ty Rattie. The first was a bit lucky as Rattie tried to slap the puck on net from the half-boards, but broke his stick causing the puck to slowly slide through the slot, untouched, to Bärtschi who had an open net to file it home.
The Hurricanes twice in the second period fought back to tie the game, but each time, Portland responded with goals less than a minute later to regain the lead. Leipsic’s penalty shot goal is the first by a 16 year old in Portland Winterhawks history. Tristan King had an attempt on a penalty shot in his 16 year old season, but was unsuccessful.
And then there is Brad Ross…getting his fifth goal in four games since returning from the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp. Last night, he was the beneficiary of a great passing play from Oliver Gabriel and Ryan Johansen, but Ross’ play has made some people take notice as he was named the WHL’s Player of the Week for his 5-1-6 point performance in four games this past week. Ross was Player of the Month for December last season, but this is his first Player of the Week honor.
Also, Ross’ goal last night was the 100th point of his WHL career, posting 41-59-100 in 139 games. He becomes the 103rd player in Winterhawk history to reach 100 points while wearing a Hawks sweater.
Lastly, the win last night over Lethbridge was the first for the Hawks against the Hurricanes on home ice since February 10, 2001, a 2-1 win when Shaun Roed scored the winner in the third period and Lanny Ramage stopped 16 of 17 shots.
Next up – the Everett Silvertips at the Comcast Arena in Everett on Wednesday at 7:00, pre-game show on Freedom 970 AM will be at 6:40.