Hard to think the 4-game series with Prince George would wrap up in less than six days, but that’s what happened this year in the odd schedule. After two wins in Prince George, the two teams loaded buses and headed straight to Portland in the weekend series at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Following a 3-0 shutout in the first game, it was the last one—a 5-4 overtime loss—that played heavily in the hearts of the Hawks, keeping pace with Everett, which has been doing well in the Central Swing thus far and a game in hand to the Tips as well, making this a tough time indeed. Coupled with players being invited to camps, the Hawks are lucky to lose a player here and there as they navigate the month ahead.
The Teddy Bear Toss awaited the teams as they played Saturday night. Bags of bears, plush and other creatures awaited their chance to be tossed on the ice during the Winterhawks’ first goal celebration. Lane Gilliss would take a pass from Kishaun Gervais and work behind the net, finding a sliver of an opening past Tyler Gauthier for the Hawks and the fur was flying.
Just over seven minutes in, Gilliss notched his seventh of the year, and more importantly, he was only the second Hawk to register back-to-back Teddy Bear goals. The other was Ty Rattie, who did it in 2010 and 2011.
The Hawks played a very stingy defense allowing just 25 shots on net and a telltale sign of just three in the final frame.
To the second, where Reece Newkirk was able to escape shorthanded and bury one past Gauthier for the 2-0 lead. Just past the 13-minute mark, Simon Knak added to his total now standing at six with a beauty of a goal to put the Cougars down by three. From there it was Joel Hofer’s heroics between the pipes and being named second star for his shutout performance, twice in a week on the Cougars by the 3-0 score. Both teams failed to click on the powerplay with PG getting five chances to Portland’s four and the Winterhawks took 46 shots on Gauthier to the 35 by PG on Hofer.
The tally was 11,156 for the plush hitting the ice and warming the hearts of thousands of local kids who will benefit from the donations.
On Sunday at the VMC the Cougars looked to gain revenge having now dropped three in a row and shut out twice by the Winterhawks. A rough and tough Hawk team greeted the visitors. With Lane Gilliss filling in on the backend due to injury of Matthew Quigley, the Hawks were in a feisty mood.
John Ludvig opened the scoring eight minutes in and held that through the first period. On the powerplay, Prince George was able to knot it up early in the second. Six minutes later, Robbie Fromm-Delorme got a goal of his own after earlier assisting on Ludvig’s marker. Just under five minutes later, Jaydon Dureau nabbed one on the powerplay to stretch the Hawks lead to two. Despite PG pulling their goaltender for the extra attacker, it was the Hawks’ Sth Jarvis who blew one into the empty net, for the sweep of all four games, all wins and a great way to send off a couple more to World Junior camps. Kishan Gervais seemed to have a concussion protocol issue on Sunday and with the uncertainty of Cross Hanas and Mathew Quigley. The Hawks’ depth was certainly tested.
Simon Knak (pronounced K-Nock) was given a glorious chance at the upcoming World Juniors, by being invited to Team Switzerland as the same time that Hofer will be joining Team Canada for their selections. Both Knak and Hofer will join these teams and hope to be back in time for the games this coming weekend with a pair against US Division teams Everett and Tri-City as they head to the Christmas Break. Then Hofer and Knak could play starting just after Christmas to January 5. They would potentially miss home games against Tri-City and Seattle and road games against Spokane and Tri-City Jonas Bronberg playing for team Denmark at the IIHF games in the Czech Republic should be back in time for those four games. The shots were 33-27 Hawks and both teams scored once on the powerplay. The Hawks had 5 chances, Prince George had 4
In the Prince George set, some interesting numbers came out. Joel Hofer had a .955 GAA in the total 4 games with a 1.25 GAA, narrowly missing this week’s Goaltender of the Week. That went to former Hawk, now Victoria Royal Shane Farkes.
The Hawks called up three players to fill a depleted lineup. With injuries and people off at camps, seventeen-year-old Dante Giannuzzi was called up to help bridge the gap between the pipes, fifteen-year-olds Ryder Thompson and Kyle Chyzowski have also added ahead of the three games this week. All these games will be against US Division opponents; the first will be a battle of the top teams in the US Division.