While the NHL commissioner, owners and players are all being idiots, our Portland Winterhawks are having a great season. This season, the Winterhawks have had a winning streak of 12 games and are currently on a winning streak of 6 games (Do you know how many losses were between those streaks? Just 1. That is right, they are 18-1 in the past 19 games.) On offense, the team is averaging 4.6 goals per game (They have scored 125 goals and they have played 27 games. Thank you elementary school math!) They also have given up the least amount of goals to the opponents in the Western Hockey League. If you are scoring a lot more than you are giving up, then you are going to win a lot of games. (See ESPN, that is some hard-hitting, Dan Dierdorf-type analysis.)
Let’s first take a look at the amazing play by the goaltenders. Mac Carruth and Brendan Burke have been sharing the majority of duties. Cam Lanigan has played 3 games and looked good in those games but he is no longer with the team. Mac Carruth has played 28 more minutes than Brandan Burke and has only given up 19 goals to Burke’s 33. Carruth has played in 13 games and he is 12 and 1 on the season while posting two shutouts on the year. While Carruth is putting up some great numbers this year, Brendan Burke is doing a great job as well. Burke has been in net for 12 of the 27 games that the Winterhawks have played and has won 7 of them. However, in those 12 games he has given up 33 goals to the opponents. The season is still young, but with the way these goaltenders are playing, I believe that the Winterhawks are set up for success. Currently, the team has only given up 56 total goals all season. That is good enough to be the best in the Western Hockey League.
Now we should look on the offensive side of the puck. Remember how I told you that the 56 total goals were the best in the Western Hockey League (That was only 2 sentences ago, do you really have to remind us?) Well, their 125 goals scored is also the best in the Western Hockey League. So not only are they stopping opponents from scoring, but they are doing a great job of lighting the lamp on their side. In hockey, most players would like to end the season with 20 goals or more. Right now, there are 6 players that are on pace to score over 20 goals this season: Nicolas Petan, Ty Rattie, Brendan Leipsic, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Chase De Leo and Taylor Leier. Ty Rattie is leading the team with 17 goals in 26 games played. That is an average of 1 goal about every 1.5 games. Nicolas Petan and Brendan Leipsic are right behind him with 16 goals this season.
In my last article about the Winterhawks, we talked about their power play and how I thought they looked very strong. In the 27 games this season, the team has scored 25 power play goals. So they are averaging just less than 1 PPG per game. If the Winterhawks were on the old NBA Jam video game, the announcers would be saying that they are “heating up” and they are “on fire.” With the Winterhawks being so dangerous on the power play, teams will be more cautious while playing our beloved team, something the Winterhawks should easily be able to exploit.