Seattle Thunderbirds at Portland Winterhawks: preview, updates, chat, how to listen and watch

What: The Portland Winterhawks (42-16-3-2) face the Seattle Thunderbirds (40-17-4-2) in the Western Hockey League.

When: Saturday April 2, 6 p.m.

Or: Memorial Coliseum.

Look: TV in Portland on CW 32. You can stream the game via CHL pay-per-view ($6.99 CDN for one game).

Listen: Audio Winterhawks and Thunderbirds.

To follow:

  • The score of the box.
  • Receive updates and chat before, during and after the game.

The Winterhawks won Friday night, in a game that we would normally call a miracle, but was old hat with their season streak with Everett. Marcus Nguyen and Clay Hanus scored in the final 3:31 to tie the game and then Cross Hanas, who set up Hanus’ equalizer, scored in extra time to clinch the 5-4 victory.

The win gives them some breathing room as they battle for playoff position. They hold a 3-point lead over the Seattle Thunderbirds going into Saturday’s head-to-head, so they can’t lose their grip on 3rd overnight. Their schedule is a bit busier, so the extra space is welcome.

Is winning 3rd place important? It probably is. 3rd place means you get Vancouver or Victoria in the first round of the playoffs, 4th place means a game against Kelowna. Kelowna is the better team so you prefer to avoid them. Portland swept the season series with Kelowna, as they went 0-3 against Vancouver and 1-2 against Victoria, which probably doesn’t mean much. I don’t know if ultimately the real benefit justifies how much we talk about it.

A victory would give the home advantage in the first round.

20 22-Jaydon Dureau (207 games)
19 11-Robbie Fromm-Delorme (177)
18-Tyson Kozak (152)
71-Hanas Cross (196)
18 9-Aidan Litke (68)
13-James Stefan (118)
16-Gabe Klassen (112)
21-Jonas Bevington (54)
67-Dawson Pasternak (34)
92-Jack O’Brien (124)
17 17-Luc Schelter (63)
19-Kyle Chyzowski (83)
72-Marcus Nguyen (79)

Tyson Kozak missed Friday’s game and it’s unclear if he’s available for Saturday.

Hanas, quiet for most of the game, had a happy ending and finished with 3 points, and is now 8th in the league.

Fromm-Delorme had a big game with a goal and an assist, and his point streak is at 4. Klassen has a streak of 3 games in a row.

Leading forward: Hanas (80 points/58 games), Stefan (72/63), Kozak (67/62), Klassen (59/63), Dureau (58/44).

20 58-Clay Hanus (258)
19 23-Kurtis Smythe (112)
18 6-Ryan McCleary (76)
17 8-Josh Mori (31)
26-Marek Alscher (56)
43-Ryder Thompson (67)
73-Luca Cagnoni (68)

Hanus scored a goal for his third game in a row and was a good defender when his teammates struggled against Silvertips.

Best defenders: Hanus (67/63), Cagnoni (33/58), McCleary (27/58).

20 35-Taylor Gauthier (190)
19 31-Dante Giannuzzi (67)

Gauthier made a big save streak when it could have been 5-2 Everett; instead, Portland scored to make it 4-3 en route to their comeback.

Save percentages: Gauthier .930, Giannuzzi .892.

Defeated last time they faced the Winterhawks, the Thunderbirds picked up veteran defenseman Tyrel Bauer and leading scorers Jared Davidson and Henrik Rybinski. But they are still missing NHL draft Lucas Ciona and veteran defenseman Ryan Gottfried, and forward Jordan Gustafson and top NHL prospect Samuel Knazko are out with daily injuries.

They took advantage of a favorable schedule to win four straight against Vancouver and Tri-City. After Saturday, they have three games where they are big favorites and a game against Everett. So if they come within a point, or even two if they win in overtime, they must like their chances.

20 12-Henrik Rybinski (241)
21-Lukas Svejkovsky (215)
19 29-Jared Davidson (193)
32-Matthew Rempé (106)
18 15-Mekai Sanders (104)
18-Sam Popowich (89)
24-Reid Schaefer (86)
34-Conner Roulette (126)
47-Lucas Ciona (129)
17 7-Jordan Gustafson (79)
11-Gabe Ludwig (73)
26-Nico Myatovic (74)
16 9-Coster Dunn (9)
19-Sam Oremba (66)

Other absentees are Ludwig, day to day, and Sanders, out for the season. Ciona is weekly; the others could return at any time.

Leading forward: Davidson (78/60), Svejkovsky (72/54), Roulette (60/60), Rybinski (57/43), Schaefer (52/61).

20 27-Ryan Gottfried (189)
19 6-Tyrel Bauer (182)
20-Samuel Knazko (23)
44-Chase Lacombe (90)
18 4-Jérémy Hanzel (81)
5-Leon Okonkwo Prada (48)
17 14-Kevin Korchinski (86)
16 3-Niko Tsakumis (10)
23-Ethan Mittelsteadt (14)
43-Sawyer Mynio (43)

Knazko missed both games against Tri-City.

Best defenders: Korchinsky (57/62), Hanzel (29/58), Knazko (16/23).

18 35-Thomas Milic (54)
16 33-Scott Ratzlaff (24)

With soft landings in recent games, they’ve alternated Milic and Ratzlaff, and Milic is rested for Saturday’s game.

Save percentages: Milic .911, Ratzlaff .905.

winter falcons Thunderbirds Average
Disk 42-16-3-2 40-17-4-2
Goal difference +94 +78
Goals/game 4.3 3.9 3.4
Goals against/game 2.8 2.7 3.4
power play 25.1% 23.0% 21.4%
penalty kill 83.0% 83.0% 78.6%
power plays for/game 4.2 4.2 4.0
Power plays versus play 4.1 4.3 4.0
Overcome opponents 45-18 49-13-1
After 1 period 30-17-16 28-18-17
After 2 periods 33-20-10 38-17-8
Score, last 10 matches 46-31 35-25
Score, last 20 matches 101-52 70-50

Join us here on my site. Everyone is welcome.