West Bend, WI – The West Bend Power look to rebound on the road when they face the defending Fraser Cup Champion Granite City Lumberjacks this weekend. Games on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 both start at 7:30pm CST.
Frustration at Home
The Power fell at home 4-1 on Jan. 20 versus the Wisconsin Woodsmen. Nik Johnson scored West Bend’s only goal, his first as a member of the Power and 30th point of the season. Brooks Barofsky stopped 24 of 28 shots on goal in the loss. The Power is using the loss as motivation to better prepare for the upcoming weekend.
“it’s important for us to focus on the task at hand, and this weekend it’s a very tough Granite City team. We know we’ve hit a bit of slump and that’s hockey, but we’re fighting through some adversity and preparing to come out strong in the home stretch and into the playoffs. We just have to get back to playing Power hockey and doing the little things right,” said Power Assistant Coach/General Manager Jeremy Ebert.
Across the Aisle
Granite City has performed well in their Fraser Cup title defense. The Lumberjacks sit in West Division’s second place with a 26-6-0-2 record and 54 points. West Bend swept Granite City in their only two matchups against the Lumberjacks, winning 3-2 in a shootout on Sept. 29, and 2-1 the following night.
Offense is the Lumberjacks’ bread and butter with a +86 goal differential, second in the West Division but would be first in the Central Division, +8 better than Wausau. The scoring surge is led by Hayden Johnson and Easton Portner, who lead in every offensive category. A backbone of last year’s Fraser Cup Championship, Hayden Johnson is continuing where he left off this season, tied for first with 11 goals and 30 while in sole possession of the assist lead with 19, while playing in 32 games so far. After playing in just eight games last year Portner has exploded in his first full NA3HL season. The Sauk Rapids, MN native is on top of his teammates notching 14 goals and tied with Johnson earning 30 points his 31 games this year.
Granite City’s Arizona goaltending has done well for them this year. Both Sam Schowalter and Anyon Bennett played youth hockey together last year on Arizona Jr. Coyotes AAA 18U. Schowalter has thrived in his role as a starter, earning a 14-2-0-1 record, .904 save percentage and 2.13 goals allowed average through 19 games played. Bennett is holding his own when called upon, with a 7-4-0-1 record through 12 games, 0.874 save percentage and 2.39 goals allowed average.
Frank Zawrazky is back in the booth on Friday, February 2 versus the Wausau Cyclones at 7:30pm CST for Washington County Humane Society Night sponsored by Pet Supplies Plus West Bend. All games this season, including this weekend’s road trip are streaming on www.nahltv.com.