Portland Winterhawks at Seattle Thunderbirds: Preview, updates, chat, how to listen and watch the stream – OregonLive

What: The Portland Winterhawks (37-14-3-2) take on the Seattle Thunderbirds (34-14-4-1) in Western Hockey League action.
When: Friday, March 11, 7pm.
Where: accesso ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington.
Watch: You can stream the game via the CHL TV pay per view (CDN$6.99 for one game).
Listen: Winterhawks and Thunderbirds audio.
Follow:
The Winterhawks bounced back from their Tuesday loss in Victoria with an easy 5-2 win over the same Royals on Wednesday. Cross Hanas led the way with 4 points including the eventual winner. Robbie Fromm-Delorme had a goal and an assist including the first and only go-ahead goal. Taylor Gauthier won his 15th game for Portland in 17 tries. They avoided the ignominy of being swept in the season series by the 9th-place Royals. And they still haven’t lost two in a row since Black Friday, when they were 7-13 and the season looked like it was going nowhere.
Now, only one point out of 1st in the conference, they could be on top at the end of Friday’s play if results go their way. But they also need to watch their backs, as they play 3 of their next 4 against a Seattle team that is only 6 points behind with 3 games in hand.
Hanas’s 4-point game has him up to 7th in the league in scoring. He’s flown up that list in the last month.
O’Brien was knocked out of the last Seattle-Portland matchup very early in the game, but returned the next night with 3 points, a cause of some consternation from up north.
Fromm-Delorme with a postgame assist had his third straight multi-point game, and has 13 points in 9 games since returning from a long injury absence. He’s been a big lift.
Leading forwards: Hanas (70 points/51 games), Stefan (65/56), Kozak (64/56), Klassen (52/56), Dureau (49/37).
McCleary, Smythe, Alscher, Hanus, and Cagnoni all had points on Wednesday, with Hanus getting a goal.
Leading defensemen: Hanus (56/56), Cagnoni (32/51), McCleary (27/51).
What will Portland do? It’s hard to see Gauthier not getting the nod here, but he surprisingly played both games against Victoria and this would be his 3rd game in 4 days. It might be a playoff tuneup, but it’s still a little odd that they invited this situation. On the other hand, they did go with Giannuzzi against Seattle earlier in the season when Gauthier was fresher than he would be now. So it’s up for grabs.
Save percentages: Gauthier .932, Giannuzzi .894
After beating Portland 5-1 on February 19, the Thunderbirds slumped to three straight losses to put themselves on the back foot in their chase of Portland. They’ve rallied with four straight wins since then. The big one was a win over the tied-for-1st Everett Silvertips in Everett. They lost a 3-0 as Everett pulled even in the 2nd period, but Lucas Ciona scored late in the 2nd and Seattle made it hold up in a scoreless 3rd period. Then they backed it up with a by-the-numbers 6-2 win over the Tri-City Americans, led by 2 goals each from leading scorer Jared Davidson and Nico Myatovic, who had 2 goals in his first WHL game but hadn’t done it again until Sunday.
Despite the little lull that has made their head-to-head games with Portland vital for catching up to them, the Thunderbirds have outshot their opponents in 14 straight games and 17 of their last 18, most of them by 10 shots or more. They haven’t had the greatest luck so far, and they’ll need it to even their season series with Portland at 5 wins each.
Matthew Rempe plays in game 100, all in the regular season. He hasn’t had the best season. In his last game against the Winterhawks, he was the one who kneed O’Brien, resulting in a game misconduct and a controversial (from the Seattle side) 2-game suspension. He hasn’t had the best season, but he’s capable. We’ll see if anything carries over.
Davidson isn’t the first player you think of when you name Seattle’s stars, but he’s had a very good season.
Rybinski is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, although he’s missed the last 5 games.
A 3-game point streak for Roulette is the only one of note.
Leading forwards: Davidson (67/53), Svejkovsky (56/44), Rybinski (54/39), Roulette (52/50), Gustafson (46/49).
Korchinski is the offensive star. They’re looking for a little more offense from a corps that is very good defensively. Knazko might be it. He’s had points in all 4 games since returning from a bronze-medal winning Olympics, but he missed last game with a lower-body injury and is also day-to-day.
Bauer would give them some more veteran leadership, will miss his 30th straight game with a lower body injury.
Leading defensemen: Korchinski (48/52), Hanzel (27/48), Gottfried (15/53).
It’s also up for grabs which goalie will get this game, since the Thunderbirds take on Everett on Saturday. It might be a window into how they see Portland versus how they see Everett. Ratzlaff had a poor game against Portland in January, losing a game where Seattle heavily outshot Portland, but had been very good until losing 2 straight games as part of that 3-game losing streak for Seattle. Compared to the many other backup goalies Portland has been facing, he’s actually one of the best.
Save percentages: Milic .912, Ratzlaff .899.
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