TEAM OUTLOOK: PORTLAND
Portland, the top team in the WHL, sits atop the Western Conference with 81 points, while Everett sits at seventh in the conference with 45 points.
Portland has earned at least a point in 42 of 49 games played this season. The team is 6-2-0-2 in its last ten games and is coming off a pair of shutout victories over Spokane and Tri-City on January 25 and 26.
Leading the Winterhawks – and the WHL – are centers Nicolas Petan and Brendan Leipsic.
Petan, a 17-year-old Delta, BC native, has 85 points in 49 games. Petan is second league-wide in scoring with 33 goals and leads the league with 52 assists. Leipsic, an 18-year old Winnipeg native, has scored 32 goals and 49 assists for 81 points in 46 games with the Winterhawks this season.
Rookie left winger Adam De Champlain’s 131 penalty minutes are most on the team and second-most in the WHL, behind only Spokane’s Carter Proft.
Eleven players had at least a point each in the Winterhawks’ recent victory over Tri-City. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a hat trick, while Leipsic added a pair of goals and an assist. Seth Jones and Petan notched the other goals for Portland, who has won 16 of its last 20 games played dating back to December 8.
Tonight’s game is the first of four games in five nights for the Winterhawks. They’ll host Kamloops on January 30 before visiting Seattle on February 1, then Spokane comes to town on February 2.
TEAM OUTLOOK: EVERETT
Everett has had some rollercoaster moments lately, winning two of their last four games. Their most recent win came in a 3-2 victory over Prince George on January 25 and was followed by a 4-0 loss to the same team the following night.
Everett is sitting at seventh place in the conference with a 21-27-1-2 record this season. The Silvertips are 5-4-1-0 in their last ten games and have scored just 129 goals on the season – second-least in the WHL.
Left winger Joshua Winquist leads the Silvertips in goals and points, with 21 goals and 37 points on the season. His 16 assists are third-best on the team, with a pair of players – Manraj Hayer and Mirco Mueller – tied for the team lead.
Goaltending duties for the Silvertips have mainly rested on the shoulders of Austin Lotz and Daniel Cotton. Lotz has played in 31 games with Everett this season, has a 3.40 GAA and a .906 save percentage, and has allowed 96 goals on 1,022 shots faced.
Cotton has won nine of 24 games played this season, carrying a 3.11 GAA and .904 save percentage and stopping 609 of 669 shots faced.
Tonight’s game is the eighth of ten meetings between the Silvertips and the Winterhawks this season. Portland has won all the match-ups between the teams so far, outscoring Everett 36-15 and outshooting them 268-193.
Last season, Portland won eight of ten meetings between the two teams.
After tonight’s game, the teams will meet twice more this season – in Everett on March 2, and then in Portland on March 5 – to close out the season series.