The opponent may be different, but the script is the same for the Portland Winterhawks.
Sunday night, they dropped Game 2 of their second round playoff series at home against the Vancouver Giants, 7-4. The Giants now lead the series 2-0 as the teams head back to Vancouver. Portland has lost every home game in these playoffs.
You may remember that this is exactly how things went for the Winterhawks in the first round against Spokane. However, it'll be much tougher to win two games in Vancouver and force this series back to the Rose City.
Tonight's game can be summed up in one word: Ugly.
If you think there's not enough fighting in hockey, this series is probably for you. Nearly every stoppage of play saw lots of pushing and shoving. The officials spent most of their time doing preemptive breakups, getting between players jawing at each other.
We saw 21 different penalties, good for 64 minutes worth of time in the sin bin. That includes four 10-minute game misconducts.
The Winterhawks' biggest issue tonight was dealing with Vancouver's forecheck (the equivalent of a full-court press in basketball). I lost track of how many times Portland turned the puck over in its own zone. Vancouver's also a team that seems to score in bunches. If you let them get one goal, they expect to net one or two more fairly quickly. That's exactly what happened tonight.
Portland's other biggest problem was evident in the third period. The guys were just tired. After that long series against Spokane, the Winterhawks simply looked out of gas. In contrast, Vancouver had 10 days to rest up for this series after pulling off a sweep in the first round.
The Winterhawks put up a good fight, but couldn't finish things off in the end.
Game 3 is Wednesday night in British Columbia.