(Saskatoon, SK) On Thursday, the Portland Winterhawks (26-12-3-2) acquired Josh Paterson from the Saskatoon Blades (26-13-6-0) in exchange for Ryan Hughes and two draft choices. Just two days later the 19-year-old forward played against his former team, and one last time in the SaskTel Centre. Saturday proved to be a special night as his back-to-back power-play goals started the comeback for Portland en route to a 5-4 victory.
One of Paterson’s former linemates, Kyle Crnkovic, opened the scoring for Saskatoon. Kyle led a two-on-one with from the blue line in and opted for the shot instead of a pass to Riley McKay.
Crnkovic’s fifth goal of the season bested Winterhawks goalie Shane Farkas, who started after newly acquired Joel Hofer got the nod on Friday.
Saskatoon added to their lead as Max Gerlach forced a Winterhawks turnover at center. A native of Flower Mound, Texas, Gerlach followed the lead of Crnkovic shooting on his two-on-one with Gary Haden.
The two-goal advantage lasted only 1:07 as Seth Jarvis deposited a rebound shot from Jake Gricius. The 16-year-old rookie scored for the fourth time on the six game eastern road trip. Jarvis’ goal came in the final minute of the first period.
Blades head coach told saskatoonblades.com, “It is about game management. I think our guys are still starting to understand how important that is. I think even shifts after goals, not giving that team any life or any chance to get momentum. We struggle with that. We got some time over the next three weeks with this college type schedule to really hone in on our details to make sure we are sharp in terms of playing the game the right way consistently and learning from these mistakes.”
The first period finished with three goals and 26 combined shots as both teams pushed the pace early and often.
In the second period the back-and-forth style of game continued as Blades goalie Nolan Maier stopped Reece Newkirk on a point-blank opportunity. Saskatoon’s Dawson Davidson quickly transitioned the puck up the ice before handing off to Kirby Dach just over his blue line. The 2019 top NHL prospect started a give-and-go with Gary Haden. Dach received the puck back to the right of Farkas and powered a shot through the five-hole restoring the Blades two goal lead.
In the early portion of the second period the Blades got into penalty trouble against Portland who boast the league’s second best power play (27%).
Josh Paterson joined the top unit and showed what he brings to the Winterhawks. Paterson positioned himself at the top of the crease and presented Cody Glass with a backhand target. Glass looked as if he was going to shoot, but instead fired a pass to Paterson who simply had to direct the puck into the net for his first goal as a Winterhawk.
— Darren Steinke (@StanksSports) January 13, 2019
A little over three minutes later the Winterhawks entered the Blades zone with speed on the power play. Glass distributed a pass to Jake Gricius who spotted Paterson driving the net. The backdoor pass landed perfectly for Paterson to tap into the four by six cage.
For Paterson the two goals were his 15 and 16th of the season.
Mason Mannek added a third goal in a row for Portland and spoke with winterhawks.com after the game about Paterson, “he is kind of quiet guy, but is starting to open up a little bit. That was huge for him. I know that was a special thing for them doing a tribute to him; and then him getting two goals in the second period that’s huge for him. That was a huge part of why we won tonight’s game.”
Paterson was honored with a thank you tribute on the jumbotron in the first period after appearing in 246 games for Saskatoon. Post game he received the number one star, providing one last curtain call to salute the crowd.
Speaking with winterhawks.com Josh felt, “Really, just happy. Nice to be able to score a couple of goals in this barn before I leave here. It is just a really great feeling.”
The 3,872 Blades fans in attendance rose to their feet less than two minutes after Mannek’s goal. Gerlach scored his second of the game, and 26th of the year.
Chase Wouters forced a turnover behind the Portland net and Haden waited for Gerlach to present a target for a one-timer. The game was then tied at four heading into the final period.
After a 33 shot second period, both teams clamped down defensively in the third period.
Mannek proved to be the hero for Portland finding a rebound in the crease. The Salt Lake City, Utah native poked home his 11th of the season.
The Winterhawks held on for the final 2:30 earning two points in the standings.
The come-from-behind win completed the Winterhawks eastern road trip. The trip included six games in nine nights. Only a night prior, Portland fell to the CHL’s top team, Prince Albert. With the bounce-back victory on Saturday, the Winterhawks won five of six against the East Division.
After the game, Portland departed Saskatoon for the long bus ride home. The team is driving straight through and will have some much needed time off before resuming practice next week.
The next game for Portland is a Veterans Memorial Coliseum showdown against the U.S. Division, and Western Conference, leading Everett Silvertips.
Saskatoon is also off for an extended period of time before resuming play against Regina at home on Friday.
– Each team finished with 39 shots on goal.
– Portland held a 36-31 advantage in the faceoff circle.
– Brendan De Jong remains in concussion protocol.
– Jaydon Dureau and Haydn Delorme were honored in a pre-game ceremony as part of First Nations Night.