Some quick thoughts on the weekend and the week ahead…
– The Portland Winterhawks did exactly what they expected to do – win both games on home ice this weekend over the Everett Silvertips – and now they prepare for the next two games on Wednesday and Thursday in Everett. Those two games (especially game 3) should be tougher battles as the Silvertips will be playing desperation hockey, down two games in the series.
– Mac Carruth made a triumphant return to the nets posting a 32 save shutout on Saturday and then stopping 37 of 39 last night to earn the WHL’s nominee as CHL Goaltender of the Week with a 1.00 GAA and a .972 save percentage in the two wins. Arguably, the 37 save performance last night was better than the shutout as the quality of shots was better for Everett in the 7-2 win for Portland. The shutout was the first on home ice in the post-season since Blake Grenier blanked the Silvertips 3-0 in Game 1 of the first round series back on March 25, 2005.
– Offensively, the Hawks were led by Ryan Johansen (1-4-5) and Nino Niederreiter (2-3-5) in the first two games. Johansen is now on a 13 game point streak (counting regular season), a streak where he has put up 27 points in those 13 games. Johansen now has 23 playoff points in just 15 career playoff games to move to a tie for 41st all-time in Hawks history with Rich Kromm (23 points in 28 games), Ron Chorney (23 points in 41 games) and Nolan Pratt (23 points in 41 games). Next up is Ray Ferraro, Alvin Szott and Jason McBain with 24 points.
– The seven goals scored last night by Portland was the most ever scored by a Portland team against Everett in either a regular season or playoff game. The Hawks scored six goals in Everett earlier this month, but had never hit the seven goal mark in over 90 games against the Silvertips. In their only playoff match-up back in 2004-05, neither team scored more than three goals in a game with the final four games all being decided by a 3-2 margin with two of those games going to OT.
– Portland now has a chance to clinch the series on the road if they win the next two in Everett. In case you were wondering, the last time Portland clinched a playoff series on home ice…you have to go back to the second round of the 2000-01 season when they knocked off Spokane in five games, winning game five on home ice by a margin of 4-1 on 4/27/01.
– We have finalized the radio stations for Wednesday and Thursday…on Wednesday, the game will be broadcast on KXL, both on AM at 750 AM and on FM at 101.1 FM. There will be no pre-game show on Wednesday with our broadcast going on right at 7:00. On Thursday, we will be back on Freedom 970, with the normal pre-game show at 6;35.