After a few days off from the game, the Hawks ended their furthest distance from Portland in Prince George with a late-season tilt against the Cougars. Prince George, knocked out of the postseason awhile ago, made it difficult for the Hawks, who were short five players. They called in Ryan Miley so they would have 17 players skating with no one sitting in the stands.
Cody Glass with a nagging knee injury, Matt Quigley who remains out for a while, John Ludvig, and Seth Jarvis, who was injured in the Kelowna game a few days ago, and an undisclosed to Kade Nolan meant the Hawks were mixing lines during the game.
The Hawks spotted a pair of goals to Prince George, one on a first-period powerplay and looked to have a tough time with the bigger Cougars, who seemed to manhandle the Hawks at every turn. Finally, the officials started to crack down on the penalties and ended up awarding the Hawks seven man advantage chances to five for Prince George. It seemed to be the tonic needed as Jake Gricius scored when he was able to fight off the scramble in front of the net, late in the second period.
In the third, Josh Paterson took a pass from Joachim Blichfeld and rifled it past Taylor Gautier to tie the game. Late in the third period, Blichfeld wired a shot to to opposite side of Gautier, also on the powerplay for the first Hawks lead of the game. Prince George took 42 shots on the Portland net, while the Hawks could only muster 27 on Gautier in the Prince George net. With three goals all coming on the powerplay to one for Prince George, that seemed to make the difference as the Hawks weathered the storm. Spokane also won, leaving them still five points back of Portland with a game in hand.
Portland looked to have a better handle on things in the second game, but with the mixing of lines, short bench and 49 shots to Prince George in the game, the Hawks couldn’t withstand the pressure. The Hawks scored the game’s first goal as Clay Hanus scored from the faceoff dot into a number of players and it went in. Prince George would tie up the game five minutes later and the game would stay tied at the end of two. The Hawks saw things go against them in the third as Prince George picked up two power-play goals and a regular marker in nine minutes to take a commanding lead. Cross Hanas scored a minute later to make the game reachable, but Prince George was able to end up with an empty-net goal and stymie the Hawks 5-2 with a 49-39 edge in shots. Once again, Joel Hofer of the Hawks was named a star after keeping the Hawks in the game for so long. Prince George was able to convert two goals on Four power plays, while the Hawks were unable to get anything on their four chances.
Spokane won on the same night as well now giving now just a three-point cushion to the Hawks as the final 10 days approach. Portland has two home game as they face Everett and then Seattle with a road game in Seattle. Spokane has four games left where they face Kamloops and Kelowna on the road and a home and home series with Trii City. Kelowna has kept third in the BC Division but could use the momentum to head into the playoffs. The same could be said in the games Portland has,
With the trip now done, the Hawks will face Everett on Tuesday with a back-to-back game with Seattle to round out the regular season.
Ice Chips: The Hawks are now just three points up on Spokane; Kelowna Rockets are six up on Kamloops as they try to get to third so they can play in the postseason. Three teams are vying for a wildcard spot in the East Conference as the seed for teams one to three in each division have already been locked up.
It may go to the last games of the season to determine the final teams and who will serve as the host team.
The Hawks, should they host, will have to run a Friday and Sunday game as Saturday has both venues being used.The Moda Center would have to be used on Sunday with either venue available on Friday. Should the Hawks go to round two, both venues are currently available, but the Moda Center has a basketball tournament on either side of Saturday, which could mean it will be unavailable on Saturday the 30th as well.
Dean “Scooter” Vrooman will be running a viewing party at Oregon City Ice House with another stick giveaway on Saturday, March 16; the Booster Club will be there as well updating memberships. The games Saturday and Sunday will be shown on CW 32—Saturday at 6pm, Sunday at 5pm.