UPDATE - Here's a link to OregonLive which has four videos on the hits.
The Highlites are here.
UPDATE II - I'm now hearing that Fraser will play Tuesday, though I haven't confirmed it yet. Without any real confirmation of injuries in the playoffs I guess time will tell.
Matt Fraser and Kevin King had a pair of goals each; Max Reinhart, Cody Eakin and Steele Boomer scored the Ice in a wild, sometimes breath-taking and sometimes heart-stopping, 7-5 win in Portland over the Winterhawks tonight to tie their best-of-seven series 1-1 headed back to Cranbrook for Game 3 Tuesday night.
After a style of game Kootenay likely wanted to get into in the first, the teams traded goals and gone was the wide-open firewagon hockey the Hawks thrive on through one period.
Then all hell broke loose or, more accurately, the bigger, badder Hawks went crazy. A double minor on Brad Ross on two separately plays could've succinctly turned the tide in the series. The question now is which way did it turn?
The four minute minor for roughing and kneeing - separately - took out Matt Fraser on the play. Fraser was on fire and had two goals at that point in a 2-1 Ice lead.
Big Taylor Jordan checked Steele Boomer from behind and drew a five-minute major and a game misconduct and gave the Ice a long, 5-on-3. They score twice to turn the game on it's ear and spark their anemic power play on goals by Reinhart and Eakin to give the Ice a 4-1 lead.
The Hawks weren't done when they took another two penalties in succession and Kootenay cashed in again, twice, on goals by Boomer - nice deflection - and another by Kevin King to make it 6-1.
The Hawks got another major - this time for a blindside head shot on Rintoul by Ryley Boychuk but couldn't extend their lead and actually gave up a shortie in the last minute to Bartschi.
A 6-2 going into the third and Kootenay got into penalty trouble of their own, the Hawks made it 6-3 with Ismond in the box and then Taylor Peters and Joe Morrow scored 13 seconds apart to cut the lead to 6-5 with a whopping 12 minutes left.
Some great saves by Lieuwen and a better defensive game plus an empty-netter got the Ice out of Dodge with a split, barely.
The Hits - Okay, I'm being objective here and have the benefit of video replay, as the WHL will when their review all three majors the Hawks took. All three will generate a second look by the league but only one, in my opinion, will get more time. The Ross knee-on-knee, though devastating, likely won't be it. He dragged his knee but he suffered an injury on the play too. It might mitigate the suspension if he's out anyway... The check-from-behind from Jordan - though dangerous - will be covered by the call on the ice... Boychuk's blindside hit to the head however - if the league sticks to the bar set on the Boomer-Grbavac hit in the Eastern Conference Final - should be two games. Rintoul didn't have the puck, though he might've been the last to touch it, but Boychuk connected with the head. The NHL's 'hitting zone' notwithstanding, it should be an easy call.
The Penalties - Kootenay stayed out of the box tonight for the most part - Ismond in the third and the four-on-four with Reinhart and and Leipsic didn't help things - and found success. The Hawks, well, Kootenay was 4-7 with two Majors and two five-on-three's.
The Near-Collapse - Face-it, if the Ice didn't pull this one out the possibility of Kootenay recovering from it would've been remote. Home-ice or not. That's why I though the Ross call could be so pivotal. Does Kootenay recover from the loss of Fraser? Do they rebound from a near loss? Probably on the latter, on the former I don't know. Those are big skates to fill. The Winterhawks seemed unfazed by a 6-1 deficit.
Hell, is it even worth mentioning the penalty-shot that Lieuwen stopped on Sven Bartschi in the second before things went sideways for the Hawks? I think so. It was key and it was a bad call. Tripping yes, but not a freebie...
The Flow - Great first period and what I thought this series would be like. The Hawks played into the Ice defensive game and generated little in the way of offensive chances. What happened in the second I don't think I've ever seen before.
Their best game - So, it's tough to gauge whether or not Portland's played their best game but I wonder when the Ice will put one together. They've played about 3.5 good periods of hockey.
How big was the TV timeout halfway through the third? Kootenay had used up their timeout after Portland's 4th goal during the pre-collapse and somehow managed to stem the tide after that. Dan Russell nailed it when he said Kootenay played better in the last 12 or so minutes with a one-goal lead then they did in the first 8 minutes with a 6-2 lead.
Okay humour me, does Carruth remind you of Todd Mathews, temperament-wise? Discuss...
The Cost - The one disclaimer I'll throw out there on the Boychuk hit on Rintoul is that the latter somehow returned. He was out on the ice, clearly, and returned in the third period about halfway through. It was a calming effect... As far as I know however the WHL hasn't adopted the 'quiet room' regulations and such for players after such an incident but Rintoul left the game and returned. I don't know if he went to any other room but the dressing room. For Matt Fraser, he's on crutches - as per Cam Moon's between the benches reporting during the third - and I'd wouldn't bet on him returning. Best case scenario: Charlie Horse and he's back for game five. Worst Case: ACL, done for season. The Prayer Vigil starts tomorrow....
Winterhawk coach Mike Johnston was hot about the calls but you'd never know. He let on a bit in the post-game about the calls and talked about the Martin hit on Bartschi late in the game against the end boards. The beauty of replay shows Martin hitting Bartschi cleanly, shoulder to chest. Give him credit though. Many coaches would've went off about those calls. He didn't. Though he tried. “Bartschi got blindsided,” Johnston said in the post-game news conference. “That should have been at least a five-minute penalty, for sure, 100 percent. On our top player, and it wasn’t called.” Video of it is above. On the Rintoul hit he also kept his cool but obviously didn't like the decision. "He (the referee) explained Rintoul he had a concussion, and then he’s back playing right away,” Johnston said. “It wasn’t an elbow; it wasn’t a high hit. It was a very clean hit with the arm down. Maybe Rintoul didn’t see him coming, but there was no concussion, as (the officials) were saying on the ice.” It'll be interesting to see what the league rules on the hit.
Give Shaw a few kudos now. Mooner between the benches is giving fans some real drama and news, without the league sanitizing it. Shaw caught all of Knoblauch's time-out talk after the Hawks 4th goal. Good Stuff. The post-game showed live is big-league. I like it.
Jeff H. also mentioned that back in December in Kootena's 5-3 win they played in front of less than 1700 fans. Tonight there were a shade under 11,000. Mind-boggling.
Lots to digest over the next day or two. Game Three goes Tuesday. Hollick's got 2300 or so for each game so far sold on his blog. Let's hope that show will kickstart a few sales. As long as Ice fan's tickers' can handle it.