PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants at Portland Winterhawks (Game 48)
Tonight in Portland the Vancouver Giants kick off their February schedule when they battle the Portland Winterhawks for the third time this season. Mike Johnston’s Winterhawks are the only Western Conference team that the Giants have yet to defeat this season. In two meetings so far against the Winterhawks the Giants are 0-1-1-0 against them. Tonight the G-Men look to extend their regulation unbeaten streak to 11 straight games while also taking aim at their sixth straight road win.
Head Coach: Mike Johnston
Home Record: 18-6-2-0
Last Game: A 7-2 loss in Spokane on Wednesday night.
Last 10: 7-3-0-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 200 GF/151 GA (+49)
Power Play: 23.9% (5th in the WHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.8% (3rd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Joachim Blichfeld (49GP – 42G – 46A – 88PTS), Cody Glass (34GP – 13G – 51A – 64PTS), Reece Newkirk (49GP – 18G – 29A – 47PTS)
BLICHFELD LEADS THE LEAGUE:
San Jose Sharks prospect Joachim Blichfeld comes into tonight’s game leading the WHL in both goals (42) and points (88). The 20-year-old product of Frederikshavn, DEN has already obliterated his previous season high in points (58) and in two games so far against the Giants he’s managed a pair of assists. He’s recorded at least a point in 13 of his past 14 games. During that span he notched 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points.
HOFER IMPRESSES EARLY:
One of the major trades made prior to the 2019 WHL Trade Deadline saw the Portland Winterhawks trade a handful of draft picks to the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for goaltender Joel Hofer. The St. Louis Blues prospect is 4-2 so far since joining Portland and has compiled a 2.41 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage. Those are great numbers considering he was yanked from his last start on Wednesday in Spokane.
- The Winterhawks hold the league’s fourth best home winning percentage (.731).
- Shane Farkas has the third most wins (25) of any goaltender in the WHL.
- The Winterhawks have the most penalty minutes of any team in the WHL (755).
- The Winterhawks are 7-1-2-0 over their past 10 home games.
Head Coach: Michael Dyck
Road Record: 13-7-1-0
Last Game: A 3-2 overtime victory on Wednesday in Kamloops
Last 10: 9-0-0-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 153 GF/111 GA (+42)
Power Play: 22.4% (7th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.0% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (47GP – 20G – 31A – 51PTS), Bowen Byram (47GP – 19G – 28A – 47PTS), Milos Roman (41GP – 18G – 19A – 37PTS)
BYRAM NAMED JANUARY PLAYER OF THE MONTH:
It was an incredible month of January for Giants defenceman Bowen Byram who notched 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points through 13 January games. His January highlights included: Two overtime winning goals, three game winning goals, and a five-point game against Kamloops all while his team went 9-3-0-1 through February. Byram accomplished all of that while also getting the call to represent Team Cherry in the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Byram has one goal against Portland already this season.
MILESTONE WATCH: On Sunday against Kelowna Giants goaltender/Arizona Coyotes prospect David Tendeck suited up in his 100th career WHL game. The Arizona Coyotes prospect has posted a career record of 46-40-4-3, with five shutouts along the way. Wednesday’s game marked a significant milestone for forward Davis Koch, who took the ice for his 300th career WHL game. Giants captain Jared Dmytriw is also sneaking up on a pair of milestones himself. The Craven, Saskatchewan native is poised to surpass the 300-game milestone this season, as he’s currently got 295 contests under his belt. He also arrived at 100 career WHL points thanks to a pair of assists that he recorded Wednesday in Kamloops.
- Tristen Nielsen brings a nine-game point streak into tonight’s game. During that span he’s recorded three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.
- Trent Miner has won each of his past six starts in goal. He finished 6-0 in January and currently sits at 16-3-1-0 on the season.
- The Giants are 14-1-1-0 this season in games when Milos Roman scores a goal.
- The Giants are 20-5-1-0 in games when they record at least one power play goal.
- The Giants boast the top road power play in the Western Conference (30.3%)
- Davis Koch has nine goals in his past nine games, and has scored at least once in eight of those past nine.