After the Portland Winterhawks came out of the gate strong, it looked as though the Everett Silvertips were in for a rough night. Scoring two goals in 34 seconds less than two minutes into the game, the Winterhawks could not have asked for a better start. The Silvertips went on to get one back before the first period’s halfway mark, but they ended the frame down 3-1.
The balance began to shift during the second period, as the teams left the ice with Portland hanging on to a 4-3 lead. Seth Jarvis scored the fourth goal for the Winterhawks shorthanded. They lead the league with six shorthanded goals through their nine games this season. However, while the Winterhawks found themselves shorthanded just three times Tuesday night, the Silvertips were able to capitalize on the man advantage twice en route to four unanswered goals.
Finishing the game with a 6-4 win, the home team reminded everyone why they are at the top of the division.
Step 1️⃣ – Seth Jarvis Intercepts Pass
Step 2️⃣ – Seth Jarvis Draws Another Penalty
Step 3️⃣ – Seth Jarvis Scores Shorthanded Anyways pic.twitter.com/AqXvEx6gwE
— Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks) April 7, 2021
Uncharacteristic performances in net
Portland goaltender, Dante Giannuzzi, stopped 28 of the 33 shots that came his way. While on the other end of the ice, Dustin Wolf faced 31, finishing the game with 27 saves.
This game saw the most goals allowed by either goaltender this season. However, they each managed to keep the game within reach for their team.
Wolf wrapped up his night with an assist on Jackson Berezowski’s empty-net goal.
Portland VP/GM/head coach Mike Johnston shared some thoughts following Tuesday’s loss to the Silvertips.
“I thought we were great to start. It was one of the first times in three or four games that we’ve had four lines rolling. I thought we had a good tempo, good momentum. I thought we created a lot of options in the offensive zone by things we were doing, and then we lost (Aidan) Litke at the end of the first period, and then we went to more of a three plus two on our lines, so I just thought that was a bit of a factor and then you take a look at it, both teams had good scoring chances they missed on and then Jaydon Dureau’s breakaway in the third period, I thought was a turning point there. But we have to be better with a lead in the third that we can seal it and bring it home.”
Injuries have caused some extra difficulties this season
Per Johnston, “Any time in these games when we’ve overextended our top group because we couldn’t play four lines, it’s been challenging this year. Usually, we’re a four-line team, and because of injuries, we got (Tyson) Kozak back tonight, the first game that he could play for, and then Litke goes out in the first period, so we’re a little bit short-staffed there.” While we don’t know for certain that Litke will miss games, the Winterhawks will have to dig just a bit deeper to maintain pressure on the rest of the US Division.
With Kozak returning Tuesday night and Gervais recently re-entering the lineup following injuries, it just began feeling like a complete Winterhawks group again.
Positives takeaways for the Winterhawks
Though the outcome wasn’t what he wanted, Johnston did see some things he liked from his team.
“Well, there’s a lot of positives in that game. I thought that the other night against Everett, we weren’t happy with how we played, and I thought that tonight we did a lot of things that gave them trouble, and that’s what we have to continue. I think they’re one of the better teams in the league. They’ve got some excellent older players in their group. Wolf didn’t have his best night, but he came up big with a couple saves in the third there.”
While the Winterhawks are still looking for their first win against the Silvertips this season, they have three more chances coming up. The next opportunity is April 18th, back at the Angel of the Winds Arena, giving Johnston and his team plenty of time to prepare and hopefully return to Everett with a healthy roster.