3 Games For The Portland Winterhawks Kept Goalkeepers And Goal Judges Busy

While maybe not a malfunction, the Portland Winterhawks lit the lamp so many times this weekend that the poor goal judges were probably suffering physically, and the scoreboard operator was busy as well. 

How many times did they score? Read on. 

After a tough 4-3 loss against Kelowna on Wednesday at home, the Hawks saw something. The worst for Kelowna was yet to come. With a return visit this weekend, the Hawks welcomed back Jan Spunar between the pipes after being off over a month with a lower-body injury. That spark ignited the Hawks to their second double-digit score of the season. 

Tyson Jugnauth scored just over two minutes in, Marcus Nguyen twenty seconds later, James Stefan, with his first on the night, and Josh Mori, just past the midway mark of the first period, put the Hawks up to stay. 

The second period saw Jack O’Brien with the only powerplay goal of the period, James Stefan with his second of the night under two minutes later, and Kyle McDonough with his first career WHL, spelled the end of the night for Jari Kykkanan as Jake Pilon replaced him. Pilon held tight before Nate Danielson got his 15th of the year just past the 17-minute mark. 

The third period saw James Stefan net a hat trick almost as soon as the period started. Hudson Darby and Diego Buttazoni, with a powerplay goal just past the seven-minute mark, left the Hawks leading 11-0. Kelowna finally solved Spunar nearly 14 minutes in to break the shutout, but the Hawks shut it down from there at 11-1. Shots favored Portland 46-29, and they went 2-4 on the powerplay, with Kelowna stopped on all six attempts. 

The next night, they were in Kent, Washington, to face the Seattle Thunderbirds. Specialty teams on the Hawks’ end didn’t favor them too much, but it appears they didn’t need them. Tyson Jugnauth started things off just 2:30 into the game, followed by Diego Buttazoni

The lead was held to the second period, where the Hawks added to their total. $ goals were scored by the Hawks in that period, including his second in as many games. Gabe Klassen, James Stefan, and Ryan Miller pushed the Hawks to 6-0, shocking the crowd in Seattle. The Thunderbirds finally got a cheer for the home. Spencer Michnik replaced Scott Ratzlaff and saw Seattle with a powerplay goal just over a minute and a half into the third period, breaking the shutout for Spunar. Any hopes for any comeback were dashed by Kyle McDonough, who scored just past the eight-minute minute mark to end the scoring. 

The shots saw Portland firing 60 at the combo of both goaltenders including 25 in the second period alone. The Thunderbirds fired 25 and got the only powerplay goal on four tries. Portland was shut out on three attempts.

At home, the Hawks went with Luke Brunen between the pipes as they hosted Tri-City Americans. Luca Cagnoni started it off for the Hawks on the powerplay just over three and a half minutes it. Goals by Marek Alscher and Kyle Chyzowski gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead at the end of one. In the second, Tyson Jugnauth and Gabe Klassen built up the lead further and seemed to have things in hand.

Tri City scored the only two goals of the third, one early and one late in the period, but the control was all Hawks in their lowest goal output on the weekend at just five as they won 5-2. The Hawks’ 40-29 shots advantage probably flattered the Americans, and the Hawks, at 1-3 versus 0-2 for Tri-City, did so as well. On the weekend, the Hawks scored 23 goals to 4  as they are tied for first place in the Western Conference with five games in hand with the Everett Silvertips. They have 13 more goals than the Everett Silvertips and lead the WHL in goals, and they are fourth overall in goals against.

The Hawks will now play games starting Saturday, then Tuesday as they face Seattle and Everett. They will then have a home and home versus Vancouver before a game in Everett with three games in three nights. 

With a month to go and 20 games remaining, the Portland Winterhawks are hitting a stride and are finally seeing more and more players recovering from injury, which will be very important as they gear up for the playoffs starting at the end of March.

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About Stuart Kemp 364 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.