Photo Credit - Brent Wojahn, The Oregonian
Playoff goals feel good…as evidenced by the expression on William Wrenn’s face in the picture on the left. The feel even better when it helps stem the tide and regain momentum after giving up the first goal as the Portland Winterhawks did in Game 2 last night.
Wrenn’s goal came just 33 seconds after Matt Marantz’s wrist shot eluded the glove of Mac Carruth late in the opening period. The late Portland tally propelled the Hawks to perhaps their best 20 minute stretch against Spokane this season in the second period when Portland out-shot the Chiefs 20-8 and got the eventual game winner from Ryan Johansen.
It was a team effort, starting with Carruth standing tall in net, stopping 34 of 35 shots, and his defense doing a nice job of boxing out around the net and limiting second chance opportunities. Offensively, the Hawks were opportunistic and did a much better job of breaking out of the defensive zone and putting pressure on the Chiefs defense throughout the game.
This series, like most expected, is extremely close with both teams having scored three goals and both teams having gone 1 for 6 on the power play through 120 minutes.
Some random notes before Game 3…
– With the win, Mac Carruth now has 14 career WHL playoff wins to move him to fourth all-time on the Winterhawks list. He is one behind both Brent Belecki and Scott Langkow, two behind Bart Hunter and three behind all-time leader Darrell May, Sr., who had 17 wins in 29 career appearances for the Hawks in the early 80’s. Carruth is 14-6-1 in 23 career playoff games.
– From the WHL: The WHL has also nominated Mac Carruth of the Portland Winterhawks for the CHL Goaltender of the Week Award. Carruth posted a 1-1-0-0 record this past week, stopping 75 of 78 shots faced for a 1.51 goals-against average and 0.962 save percentage. Carruth, a native of Shorewood, MN, helped the Winterhawks to a 1-1 series tie this past week in the Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Championship against the Spokane Chiefs.
– The Hawks are also fast approaching an attendance milestone in the playoffs as they are closing in on 1,000,000 playoff attendance numbers all-time in team history. After the two games this weekend, the Hawks sit at 997,892 all-time in playoff attendance, just 2,108 away from the 1,000,000 mark. I think we’ll get there on Saturday in Game 5.
– The game winner by Ryan Johansen was his third game winner of the post-season. The all-time Hawk record for game winning goals in four by Greg Leahy in 1988-89.
– The game last night was the 70th career WHL playoff game for Craig Cunningham, becoming one of just 18 players in WHL history to have played at least 70 games. The WHL record is 87 games played by Shay Stephenson of the Red Deer Rebels.
– Next up is Game 3 on Wednesday night…we’ll be on the air at 6:35 on Freedom 970 with the pre-game show.