In The Line Of Fire…

Clint Eastwood???

Sven Bartschi will be remembered for having a three-point game last night in the Portland Winterhawk’s 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Rose Garden last night in Game 5, and he should be.

But for me…the defining moment of the game, and maybe of the series, was when Bartschi lept face first to block a slap shot in the third period to help preserve the victory.  It was what everyone talks about in the playoffs…sacrifice.  And Bartschi wasn’t alone, the Hawks got blocked shots from a number of players and they now have a chance to close out the series on Monday night in Spokane.

The game last night was the best of the series as both teams were allowed to play physical and both teams played between the whistles which meant virtually no penalties…a far cry from what we saw in Games 3 & 4 in Spokane.  There were only three minor penalties in the game, all in the second period, as referee’s Devin Klein and Pat Smith had the game under control from the start.

In the three games played in Portland so far, there have been 15 power plays combined.  In Spokane, there were 28 power plays in two games.

The same script for the two teams at the start of the game as the Chiefs scored first, as they have in all five games of the series.  Tyler Johnson got a step on the Hawks defense and fired a nice wrister to give the Chiefs the lead just under one minute into the game.  From there, the two goaltenders would take over as both Mac Carruth (39 saves) and James Reid (40 saves) played exceptionally well.

An absolute huge shift at the end of the second period for Bartschi, Craig Cunningham and Ty Rattie at the end of a power play finally resulted in the tying goal as Joe Morrow’s entry shot was deflected home by Bartschi with just 33 seconds left in the frame.  I believe Morrow was out for the entire power play and his play was the definition of a defenseman quarterbacking a power play as he moved the puck quickly from side to side and got entry shots that eventually led to the goal.

From there, the Hawks had the momentum heading into the third period and it was Rattie who gave the Hawks their first lead of the game, one-timing a quick heads-up pass from Taylor Aronson from the left circle.  After that, Bartschi took a rebound off Carruth’s stick (who should have an assist added to him at some point) and threw a dart through center to spring Cunningham on a breakaway that the veteran filed to make it 3-1.  It turned out to be the third game-winner of the playoffs for Cunningham.

Spokane got one back to make it interesting and then the Hawks clamped down to take a 3-2 series lead.

Monday night will be the first chance of the series for the Winterhawks to clinch…and it should be a great game.  Pre-game show with yours truly and Todd Vrooman will be at 6:35 on Freedom 970…can’t wait.

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2 Comments

  1. Great game last night! I was surprised by the lack of whistles, but I was glad to see that the refs just let them play the game.

    It was a great experience! And I got Rockfest tickets! Win – Win night!!!

  2. I agree Andy, Sven’s defensive play of selflessness is still being played in my memory as I had a perfect view of it and believe that not only to be a series changer but may have changed the way the rest of the playoffs and hopefully the Memorial Cup will be played and what it takes to win it all! Great Job men!


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