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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Battling his ex-team) February 25th, 2022 EDITION 877

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Battling his ex-team) February 25th, 2022 EDITION 877

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Four weeks ago when Taylor Gauthier first played against his former team, the Prince George Cougars, he entered that game with a 5-0 record in a Portland Winterhawks uniform with a sparkling .937 save percentage and a 2.18 goals-against-average.

Gauthier would win that night on January 28th in Portland as the Winterhawks beat the Cougars 4-1, outshooting PG 47-27.

With 26 saves, Gauthier was named the first star.

The 20-year-old from Calgary has been a star in nearly all 13 games he has played with Portland.

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As he gets ready to make his return to CN Centre to face the Cougars this weekend, his numbers are even more impressive than a month ago.

Since Gauthier was traded in late December from Prince George to Portland, he has posted a 12-1 record with a 1.61 goals-against-average and a .944 save percentage.

Breaking it down, he has played 39 periods in regulation time with only one bad one, and that was last Saturday against Seattle where he surrendered 4 goals in the 2nd period of a 5-2 loss to the Thunderbirds.

That tiny letdown just showed that he is not a machine, although his performances have shot him to the top of the league.

He has already set a Winterhawks club record for longest shutout streak at 251 minutes and 11 seconds.

The streak, which included three consecutive shutouts, smashed Brendan Burke’s former franchise record of 174:57 set during the 2013-14 season.

Gauthier was the landslide winner of the WHL Goaltender of the Month, posting league-leading numbers in January with a perfect 7-0 record, 1.70 goals-against average (GAA) and a .945 save percentage.

Including Gauthier’s 14 games with P.G. this season, he has a sparkling .932 save percentage in 27 games, which is tops in the WHL followed by Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers who is next at .922.

Gauthier’s GAA is second in the league at 2.17 only behind Garand’s 2.08, however, if you take Gauthier’s Portland numbers of 1.61 there is no comparison.

This doesn’t necessarily mean “Goats” is the best goalie in the league but he is right now and you can bet pro teams are taking notice, something they were not doing regularly when he was with a non-playoff team in Prince George.

With 18-year-old Tyler Brennan playing well in the P.G. net, the Cougars would be happy to make that trade over again.

The official deal on December 27th had Gauthier, (who had COVID-19 symptoms at the time) go to the Winterhawks for 20-year-old defenseman Jonas Brøndberg, a third-round selection in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft and two conditional fifth-round selections.

Cougars head coach and general manager Mark Lamb, in this week’s Cat Scan podcast, admitted there may be more to that deal should Portland go on a long playoff run.

“Yes, there is a condition in there on playoff performance for Taylor. It’s kind of private but there is a condition in there that we get more if they do good,” stated Lamb.

The coach added “we are so happy to make that trade for ourselves bringing Brondberg back, who just solidified our D. He’s a real good player, actually an even better player than I thought. Both of us, Mike Johnston (Portland Winterhawks head coach/GM) and I,  probably did not know that Taylor Gauthier was that good and we did not know that Brondberg was that good.”

If the WHL playoffs were to begin today it would be the (32-13-3-2) Winterhawks, #3 in the Western Conference, against the (19-27-2-1) Cougars, #6 in the West.

Depending on how one looks at that matchup it could be a win-win for Prince George.

If the Cougars win the series that is obviously the best-case scenario.

If the heavily favored Winterhawks win the series, then the possibility exists that the Cougars could get more in return for Gauthier, who is in his last year of junior.

That’s down the road and that potential matchup may not even happen.

This weekend though, we know Gauthier and his good friend Brennan get to go head to head.

Outside of winning in the playoffs, there is nothing as satisfying as beating your buddy and former team.

Lamb admits it would be ideal at CN Centre to see Brennan first star, Gauthier second star, and the Cougars player with the game-winning goal third star.

For the Cougars, that would seem like winning the Mega 50-50 Jackpot, which by the way will be handed out Saturday during the second half of the doubleheader between these two teams.

 

Cat Scan podcast:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers split up. Apparently, Aaron was taking so much ivermectin, Shailene got tired of the neigh sayers.

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg

The NFL team formerly known as the Redskins are now the Washington Commanders, explaining, ‘All of the good nicknames were already taken’.”

*Greg Cote of the Miami Herald

It was a nice touch for the team to name itself after President Biden’s dog.

*Jack Finarelli of sportscurmudgeon.com, on the new Commanders nickname

I have a question regarding the Washington Football Team’s new nickname—-wasn’t Custer a Cavalry Commander?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Lebron James says the door is “not closed” on a potential return to Cleveland Cavaliers. Lebron is becoming to NBA teams what Elizabeth Taylor was to husbands.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

A cargo ship packed with luxury cars caught fire and is aimlessly adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; sort of the nautical equivalent of the L.A. Lakers.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

 

In Case You Missed It:

At the Waste Management Open, Harry Higgs lifted up his shirt after a two-putt par to get a reaction from the crowd; which showed us, among other things, that Higgs needs better waist management.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

 

 

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