After dropping a regulation win against the Tri City Americans, the Hawks looked to this extended homestand to have one final crack at Tri City at home to end the home series with them. It started once again badly for the Hawks as they gave up two goals. Four goals straight by the Hawks gave them the badly needed 4-2 win at home, ending the drought to the Americans for the season, giving themselves dome room in second place and giving Joel Hoefer a needed win on home ice.
That Hawks Spotted a pair to Tri Cities and were against the wall, but four straight by Portland, gave them their first regulation win against the Americans and crept a little closer to the top spot in the US Division held by the Everett Silvertips. The Americans kept going from third to wildcard and back again the rest of the week with Spokane, which continues to not be the dominant force many thought they would.
Seattle came calling next with hopes of moving out of the cellar in the Conference and giving them a shot at a wildcard spot. Portland’s two goals at the end of each period seemed to give the Portland squad a lead they thought was not breakable. The game of hockey is 60 minutes and a goal with one minute left to go and one with the goaltender out just 18 seconds later, gave Seattle a point they shouldn’t have had. Seattle was given life again.
Seattle’s undoing was in the overtime period. With the Hawks on the attack, Seth Jarvis was hauled down as he went to shoot on net, the result was a penalty shot, which Jarvis made no mistake with. The goal by Jarvis gave the Hawks a 3-2 overtime win and then they looked to the Lethbridge Hurricanes..ass in the Seattle zone, while on his knees, he was cross checked in the back by Seattle’s Tyler Carpendale and then landed on awkwardly as his leg went one way and his body the other. To watch it caused many squeamish moments, but the MRI results seemingly have him out up to two weeks with heavy bruising and more but not rips or tears. Both teams were fruitless on the five power plays each and Portland held a decisive 41-23 shot advantage.
The Canes beat Seattle the previous night, but got obliterated by Everett 9-1, so the visit to the Rose City was one of uncertainty. No one was certain if Lethbridge would bring a tough game to Portland or play as they did the night prior in Everett.
Lethbridge and Portland left the first period tied at one, though the Hawks had the abundance of goal chances. The Hawks exploded for three in the second period to take a 3-0 lead which they then carried into the third and held that same lead for the game. The win also gives Hofer a shutout as he gives serious competition to Shane Farkas who has now backed up Hofer in three straight games. Jake Gricius nabbed a pair and Seth Jarvis added another as again Portland struggled with the man advantage, getting shutout on six chances, while limiting one to Lethbridge which they also killed off. Lethbridge outshot the Hawks 37-29 in the contest.
Portland now has a game in Spokane and then two in a row at home, before four games on the road to balance the schedule with home and away.
The CHL rankings came out still with Prince Albert leading the way and only Everett from the WHL making the poll this go around setting for sixth place in a poll strongly favoring the Ontario Hockey League. Portland just seven points back of the Tips has a game in hand which they will use when they play the Chiefs. The Hawks still have a good distance from the Americans and Chiefs as they hold a six game advantage or twelve points, heading into the final third of the season. Most games once past the middle of February will be divisional matches or “Four Point nights” where they can make some big distance with other US teams and have a shot at home ice advantage.
Seattle still finds a way to keep in the thick of things. Kamloops, Prince George and Seattle remain a couple of points of each other as they battle for the last remaining wild card spot. Kelowna, which started the season in the cellar, has jumped into the third spot in the BC Division and while in no way are they safe in that spot, the fact that they they bounced to an almost .500 rating from where they were just a month or two ago, is remarkable.