Monday Thoughts…

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.

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7 Comments

  1. So Belecki doesn’t get credited with the 4 wins in the Memorial Cup, huh?

  2. Nope Stan…as the Memorial Cup is not considered WHL playoffs…Belecki does get credit for the wins, but not as part of the WHL playoffs. Just like Mike Vernon is not listed anywhere in the Hawks playoff record books…

    AK

  3. To me the one play that is being overlooked was when with 5:40 left in the first Ty Rattie stopped a Spokane shot that was going in with his stick then clears it out of danger. A very smart play by Rattie that could have changed the entire game at that point.

    Really liked how the Winterhawk “secondary” players like Leipsic made those dirty little plays and gave up his body to make plays.

    This is a team that is going to be good for a while

  4. Andy,

    Speaking of attendance, can you tell us what the overall Hawks attendance has been this year (including both regular-season and playoffs)? And, how does this compare to previous years in terms of total and average per game?

    Thanks!

  5. Rich,
    the Hawks drew 201,394 in the regular season, an average of 5,594/game. That was the most since 2005-06. The number are steadily rising in the regular season with this year averaging over 1,150 more per game than last regular season.

    In the playoffs, the Hawks have drawn 50,460, an average of 7,209/game. If that average continues, it would be the 7th highest average playoff attendance in team history. The most was 1997-98 (no surprise) with 9,234/game.

    AK

  6. I totally agree with Jess …. That Ty Rattie play in the crease was a smart heads up play. The second period was exciting fast paced playoff action. Both teams played over 8 minutes without a stoppage of play. During that time there was plenty of action. This was a TEAM victory, every member made a contribution. Riley Boycheck great back skating, to Craig Cunningham excellent play. Can’t wait for game 3. This is what playoff action should be.

  7. Andy,

    Is there anywhere around town that will be showing the Friday game. I’d like to watch the game live with other Hawks fans. Is this possible?

    Let me know. Thanks.

    K


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