The Portland Winterhawks played one game during the week as a lead up to a heavy set starting this weekend in Victoria. The Spokane Chiefs came to town looking for revenge on the Hawks, who had beaten them 6-4 in Spokane just days earlier. Spokane looked to get revenge as they got the game’s first goal. That lead lasted less than a minute as John Ludvig netted his 12th of the year. Reece Newkirk added to the lead on the powerplay just past the eighteen-minute mark and that carried over to period two. Jaydon Dureau added to that total with his seventh of the year and then Seth Jarvis finished off the second period scoring for the Hawks as he tallied his 19th of the year and the Hawks were in full control. The Chiefs netted a late one in the second period to halve the score at 4-2
The third period was Spokane’s in the first part of the third period as they got within a goal at the 13-minute mark. After pulling their goalie for the extra attacker Jaydon Dureau grabbed his second of the night and put the Hawks up 5-3 for the win. Now at 12 games on the winning streak, the Hawks hit the road for a pair against the always-tough Victoria Royals and then home for a pair. Portland scored once on the powerplay with a pair of chances and held Spokane scoreless on three. The Hawks also had a 10 shot margin with a 38-28 shot total.
As the Hawks gear up to play the heavy schedule in January and February, they have a trip with a doubleheader in Victoria, they gave Joel Hofer some time to visit with the family before getting back to the grind of the WHL. With his arrival, Portland made the decision to make a deal with Swift Current. Going the Hawks way is a 7th-round pick in 2021 and Isiah DiLaura heads east to the Broncos. DiLaura, who was traded prior to the season start from Prince George for a 7th round pick in 2022, played six games for the Hawks with a 4-2 mark and a 3.27 Goals Against Average and a save percentage of .891. The Broncos are in need of an experienced goalkeeper and DiLaura also being older, gives the Speedy Creek boys a boost. He may get his first action on Saturday when the Broncos face Lethbridge Hurricanes. It is doubtful that Swift Current will even make the wildcard this year in that they have just nine wins on the season, but DiLaura should be there into next year as an overage player, which seems to fit many of the Eastern teams in having an older netminder.
It appears the tandem of Hofer and Giannuzzi are the Hawks netminders for the duration of this season. Trade deadline will occur Friday, January 10 at 2 pm, and while some trades have been made, this season is quiet especially with the host team of the Memorial Cup. The Kelowna Rockets have been pretty silent thus far as they cling onto second place in the BC Division with just seven points separating them and a wildcard spot while they give up the game to Victoria and Vancouver. With just a couple days until the trade deadline, the rankings of the CHL Top Ten have been released, and Portland still holds the third spot, with Edmonton making a charge to fifth, up three spots from last week. Everett still is in the poll, though falling three spots to seventh.
Kamloops is an Honorable Mention this week.
Here is what the rankings look like as we head into the weekend of trade deadline.
(1) Ottawa 67’s, (2) Sherbrooke Phoenix, (3) Portland Winterhawks, (4) Chicoutimi Sagueneens, (5) Edmonton Oil Kings, (6) Moncton Wildcats, (7) Everett Silvertips, (8) Windsor Spitfires, (9) Guelph Storm, and (10) Peterborough Petes, with honorable mention to the Kitchener Rangers, Kamloops Blazers, and Saginaw Spirit.
It will be interesting how the Hawks fare against an always tough Royals team and then have to come home for a pair as Trade Deadline looms.