Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Seattle
Tonight is the twelfth and final time this regular season that the Thunderbirds and Hawks will meet. Portland took down Seattle 8-3 last night at the Moda Center. The Hawks are still vying for top spot in the U.S. Division and would need a win tonight to keep those hopes alive.
PREVIOUS GAME: Portland 8 vs. Seattle 3: It was a night Winterhawks' forward Cody Glass won't soon forget. Glass had a hat-trick, five points and registered his 100th point of the season to lead Portland to an 8-3 victory over Seattle at the Moda Center on Friday.
It was Seattle getting on the board first, with Nolan Volcan banging home a rebound with 2:16 remaining in the period to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead. Seattle would carry that lead into the second, but it wouldn't last long.
Just 4:46 into the second, Henri Jokiharju buried his 11th of the season on a hard shot from the top of the right circle to tie things at one. Then, just passed the midway point of the period, it was Cody Glass beating Liam Hughes for his 35th of the season to give the Hawks the lead. Just over three minutes later, Clay Hanus went end-to-end to set up Kieffer Bellows right on the doorstep to make it 3-1 Portland. For Bellows, it was his 40th of the season.
The Winterhawks were not done yet, as late in the frame it was Glass again taking the puck from out of the corner and beating Hughes for his second goal and third point of the night.
In the third, Portland kept pouring it on. Off a Glass faceoff win, Skyler McKenzie riffled one home to make it 5-1 Hawks. For McKenzie, it was his 100th career Western Hockey League goal. Glass picked up his fourth point of the game and 99th point on the year.
After Seattle made it 5-2, the Hawks came right back with two more from Reece Newkirk and Brendan De Jong to extend their lead to 7-2. Then, with less then six minutes remaining, Glass capped off an incredible night with a wicked wrister from between the hash marks for his hat-trick goal. It also marked his 100th point of the season, becoming the first Winterhawk to reach the 100-point plateau since Oliver Bjorkstrand in 2015. The 9,676 Winterhawk fans littered the Moda Center ice with their hats and gave Glass a standing ovation.
Seattle would add one late to make it a 8-2 final. Cole Kehler made 24 saves for Portland to register his 30th save of the season. The Hawks improved to 44-21-1-4 on the season with the victory.
TODAY'S OPPONENT: Seattle fell 8-3 to Portland last night after holding a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. The Thunderbirds were unable to capitalize on five power-play opportunities, going 0 for 5 with the man-advantage.
Sami Moilanen, Nolan Volcan and Samuel Huo all scored for Seattle last night. Moilanen now has four points in his last two games and looks to be regaining his form after missing over a month with an injury.
Volcan continues to pile up points for the Thunderbirds, as the 19-year old forward leads Seattle in points with 75 in 69 games.
It will be interesting to see who Seattle starts in net tonight. Liam Hughes allowed seven goals against last night versus Portland, but made several incredible saves to keep his within striking distance for much of the game. Hughes was pulled late and Dorrin Luding entered, eventually allowing one goal on two shots.
Seattle is now confirmed as the second wild-card team heading into the postseason. They will play the eventual winner of the U.S. Division, so either Portland or Everett.
WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: What a night for Cody Glass yesterday. The Vegas Golden Knights first round pick had five-points, a hat-trick and reached the century mark in points this season. He is the first Winterhawks' player to reach 100 points in a single season since Oliver Bjorkstrand did it in 2015.
Glass' linemate Skyler McKenzie recorded his 100th career WHL goal last night in the Hawks 8-3 victory. McKenzie now has 46 goals on the season, and you know he will be gunning for 50 with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Last night was a strong night for the Hawks 16-year olds as well, with Clay Hanus recording two points and Reece Newkirk burying his eighth goal of the season. Both players have seen incredible growth in their game as the season has gone on. For Newkirk, it was his sixth goal in his last 18 games.
STAT OF THE DAY: With two points last night, defenseman Henri Jokiharju becomes just the second Winterhawks' D-man to reach 70 points in a single season over the past 25 years. Derrick Pouliot is the only other in the last quarter century, when he had 70 exactly in 2012-13.
Here's how the two teams have played head-to-head this season:
Winterhawks: 8-0-1-2 Thunderbirds: 3-7-0-1
The Hawks return home for their final game of the regular season tomorrow against the Chiefs at the Moda Center.
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