The Winterhawks travel up Interstate-5 for a 7:05 p.m. tilt with the Silvertips, a marquee U.S. Division matchup. Portland is just seven points behind Everett and can gain ground in the divisional standings with a regulation win. It will be eighth of 10 regular season meetings between Portland and Everett and the last at Angel of the Winds Arena.
The Winterhawks have played well since the trade deadline, posting a 7-4-0 record during that stretch, most of it without arguably their most talented forward, Golden Knights’ prospect Cody Glass,who is hobbled with a lower-body injury.
Last time out
Forward to watch – Joachim Blichfeld
The overage forward and Sharks prospect is the WHL’s most prolific scorer, leading the league in points (91) and goals (43). The next closest is Moose Jaw’s Tristin Langan, who owns 82 points and 38 goals. Blichfeld is the designated sniper on a line centered by Glass, who likely won’t play against the Silvertips.
Defenseman to watch – John Ludvig
The Kamloops, British Columbia native is a shutdown defenseman who will have his hands full shutting down the likes of Connor Dewar and Zack Andrusiak. His +33 rating is the highest of any player not on the Prince Albert Raiders.
What’s in net?
The Winterhawks traded for Joel Hofer at the WHL trade deadline for a litany of draft picks and has been solid between the pipes for Portland, posting a 2.91 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in eight games. Shane Farkas, who was Portland’s undisputed No. 1 goaltender before the acquisition of Hofer, has appeared in four games since the trade deadline and owns a 2.53 GAA and a .912 save percentage, which includes a 24-save shutout of Vancouver on Feb. 1.
Hofer likely gets the nod, but with both goaltenders playing at a high level, it’s not out of the question to see Farkas in the crease.
Draft prospect to watch – Reece Newkirk
Although Blichfeld and Glass receive a lot of the attention for their productivity, Newkirk has been a steady presence for the Winterhawks, with 20 goals and 29 assists. Expect him to center Portland’s second line and provide Everett’s defensive groups fits all night.
Rookie to watch – Seth Jarvis
The Winnipeg native has been one of the most productive first-year players in the league this season, as his 14 goals are tied with Vancouver’s Justin Sourdif among rookies and he leads all 2002-born WHL players in goals and points (29).
Tale of the tape (entering Friday)
Everett TEAM Portland
37-12-1-1 RECORD 29-18-2-2
76 points, 1st in U.S. STANDING 69 points, 2nd in U.S.
1 STREAK 0-1-0-0
6-4-0-0 LAST 10 7-3-0-0
+ 77 GOAL DIFF. +51
6-3-0-0 HEAD TO HEAD 3-4-0-1
22.2 (9th) POWER PLAY 23.3 (7th)
84.2 (3rd) PENALTY KILL 83.9 (4th)
LW Connor Dewar TOP SKATERS LW Joachim Blichfield
(35 goals, 35 assists) (43 gooals, 48 assists)
RW Bryce Kindopp C Jake Gricius
(29 goals, 27 assists) (22 goals, 26 assists)
C Zack Andrusiak C Reece Newkirk
(35 goals, 18 assists) (22 goals, 26 assists
Dustin Wolf NO. 1 GOALIE Joel Hofer
(33-11-1-0, 1.82, .930) (5-3-0-0, 2.92, .911)
Everett: C Riley Sutter (lower body); RW Dawson Butt (upper body)
Portland: C Cody Glass (lower body)