The Hawks’ Nest

Top Wins of 2009-10: #1
April 28, 2010, 9:49 am
Filed under: Winterhawks | Tags: , ,

We’re taking one last look at the 2009-10 season before tomorrow’s bantam draft serves as the unofficial start to the 2010-11 season (at least for most of the WHL, as the playoffs are ongoing). To put a bow on the season I’m looking back at the team’s top-five wins of the season. Today I look at what I consider the best win of the season. For #2 click here, for #3 go here, for #4 and #5 click here, and for the honorable mentions, follow this link.

On to the winner:

#1: March 31: 5-4 win in Game 7 @ Spokane. When the Winterhawks lost Game 6 of their first round series against Spokane to force a Game 7, a few co-workers and I kicked around the idea of driving up to Spokane to watch the game. Ultimately, the prospect of a long overnight drive back nixed that idea, and when it was announced it would be televised, that sealed it.

That night, when Spokane went up 3-0 3:31 into the second period, the decision seemed sound.

How wrong I was.

Because the Winterhawks just needed some time to get warmed up.

Just under four minutes after the Chiefs took their 3-0 lead in the second period, the Hawks got on the board on a goal by Nino Niederreiter. Ten minutes after that, Ryan Johansen made it a one-goal game heading into the third period.

But that momentum seemed short-lived when Kyle Beach, who’d terrorized Portland throughout the series, scored 6:50 into the third to make it 4-2 for Spokane. Overcoming a two-goal deficit with 13 minutes to go is a tall order, but the Hawks were game.

From that point on they carried the play, outshooting Spokane 14-6 in the third period. They put Spokane on their heels and wouldn’t let up. They cut the deficit to one when Riley Boychuk scored in a goalmouth scramble three minutes after Beach’s goal to make it 4-3. Then incredibly, they tied the game four minutes after that on another scramble, with Luke Walker finding the back of the net.

Having overcome deficits of 3-0 and 4-2, momentum was clearly on Portland’s side heading into overtime.

In the extra frame, the Hawks kept up the pressure, outshooting Spokane 12-5. Finally, with under three minutes to go in OT, Taylor Aronson collected the puck and brought it through the neutral zone. Rather than dump it in and go off for a line change, he recognized that the Chiefs players had been out on the ice on a long shift and were getting tired. Aronson skated by one defender in the neutral zone who waved at him with his stick, and drew two Chiefs with him beneath the goal line. Finally, he spotted Ty Rattie, who’d snuck into the slot untouched. Aronson put a perfect pass on Rattie’s stick, and Rattie fired it past Spokane netminder James Reid.

A Game 7 overtime winner. You can’t beat that.


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