Just because the Portland Winterhawks made it no further than round two of the WHL playoffs doesn’t mean they just sit idle.
The Hawks have been busy securing more talent in the years to come with the latest signing of Cole Cairns. After signing goaltender Luke Brunen earlier, they signed their fourth round #81 overall choice to a standard WHL contract.
Mike Coflin, the Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Scouting, said Cairns is a feisty right-winger and a high-end competitor. He and Brunen will be among many at camp, though don’t expect them in a Hawk uniform this year for any length of time. With the schedule due out in less than a month, the team will be shifting into overdrive as it prepares for its 47th season.
The Hawks also look to be running all their games at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, so they may experience some conflicts like previous years with concerts and Trailblazer basketball, but won’t be running between buildings either, which for many fans is very helpful.
To the playoffs, where Seattle shocked Kamloops in game seven held at the Sandman Arena in Kamloops. The final was 3-2. Kamloops opened the scoring eight and a half minutes in when Fraser Minten beat goaltender Thomas Milic after a surprise backhand pass by Connor Levis.
Jared Davison of Seattle scored his first of two goals after completing a tic tac toe set of passes while on the powerplay to fool Dylan Garand in the Kamloops net. The score remained tied until the second period. Davidson again scored when he received a faceoff dot pass from Lukas Svejkovsky.
Henrik Rybinski made it 3-1 after he took a Jeremy Hanzel pass and scored when Dylan Garand misplayed the puck as it went under his glove.
Milic, at the other end, was making heroic saves and kept in a 3-1 score until very late in the third period. With just seven seconds left, Daylan Kuefler finished off a scramble in the goal crease, but it was too little too late.
Seattle will now face Edmonton Oil Kings, who took their series from Winnipeg earlier. Due to a conflict at ShoWare Center. Edmonton will host the first two games and the fifth through seventh games. The series will begin this Friday in Edmonton.
To the Ontario Hockey League, where Windsor Spitfires forced a seventh game with a hard-fought 3-2 win in overtime. Ethan Keppan and Riley Piercey scored for Flint, with both goals on the powerplay. Daniel D’Amico scored twice for Windsor to send the game to overtime. Andrew Perrott scored after nearly 19 minutes in the overtime period when he fired the puck just over the top of Luke Cavallin’s glove.
With that, the series was tied and headed back to Windsor, Ontario. Daniel D’Amico scored a pair in the first period. Alex Christopoulos scored for Windsor late in the second period to further add to the tightening of the noose against Flint. The hattrick finished off Flint with Daniel D’Amico scoring late in the third period to put Windsor up 4-0. Neither team scored on the powerplay, with Flint 0-3 and Windsor 0-4. Flint outshot Windsor 39-36
Windsor will now face the mighty Hamilton Bulldogs, who crushed North Bay in four straight games. The games will begin Friday with unusual start times on Sunday at 2 pm.
The QMJHL is running best-of-five series in the rounds except for the final due to scheduling. Charlottetown Islanders, who won their series earlier, are awaiting the winner of the Quebec Remparts vs. Shawinigan Cataractes series. Perrick Dube scored first for Shawinigan, only to be countered by Xavier Fillon for Quebec while scoring the first period’s only powerplay. A pair of goals by Conor Frenette for Shawinigan, one while short-handed, tied the game. Quebec added a goal by Martin Has late in the period to put Quebec back in the lead.
In the third period where Isaac Menard bested all in a foot race to the puck and roofed the puck over William Rosseau in the Quebec net. Pierrick Dube scored on the powerplay to give Shawinigan its first lead of the game. Dube finished off the night with a hat trick as he grabbed the puck untouched and made sure he got it in the unguarded net as he shot just before the goal crease.
Shawinigan will now travel to Charlottetown to play the Best of seven series starting Saturday.