Portland Returns To Its Home Base, But Still Without Fans Attending, Plus Other Action

Portland will sort of be a home team starting late March. After a few games as both the road and home team in Seattle, the Hawks have been permitted to operate out of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as of March 26 versus Everett. All games will start at 5 pm PDT. They will start the season in Kennewick, play Spokane one as the home team, twice versus Seattle as the road team, and then start in earnest as the home team in Portland. They are also able to practice at the Winterhawks Skating Center.

The recent change is due to the lower risk factor from Oregon.

The schedule has been announced for the BC Division and is the final piece of the puzzle in the abbreviated season. Like the other Divisions of East and US, the schedule is concluded May 11. They are still getting final schedules for the Central Division as it isn’t totally complete, but they figure it will end about a week or so prior due to its early start.

Edmonton takes off this week as the bye team after being perfect in their games thus far. Dylan Guenther leads everyone out of the gate with goals in every game thus far. Then came the matches on Friday.

Friday, the Medicine Hat Tigers picked up three powerplay goals from Cole  Clayton and three assists from Brett Kemp as they romped over the Calgary Hitmen 6-2 after being outshot 41-33. The Tigers’ powerplay was very accurate in that affair, with 3 goals of 4 attempts and blanking the Hitmen on their 4 tries.

Lethbridge and Red Deer had a wild affair with the Hurricanes of Lethbridge, racking up up a 7-4 win. The Canes went 3 for 6 on the PP and held Red Deer to just one chance which they blanked. Red Deer held the edge in shots 30-29. 

The East finally got into action this week. Moose Jaw exploded for three goals in the second but had to go to overtime to get the second pointy as they edged Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3. Outshooting Brandon 31-22 and 2 for 4 on the powerplay versus 1 for 6 to Brandon.

Prince Albert may have only registered 17 shots on net, but they were deadly with a 6-3 win over Regina Pats, who took 31 on Prince Albert’s Max Paddock. The big takeaway from the game was 15-year-old exception Connor Bedard who scored a pair of goals for Regina. Bedard had been listed by Regina as an exceptional player, meaning he was eligible to at just 15 years old. 

The next night saw Saskatoon Blades pickup a 4-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos. Both Saskatoon and Swift Current were unable to convert their powerplay chances, with 5 going to Saskatoon and two to Swift Current. The Blades held a 40-25 shot advantage.

In a Manitoba battle, The Brandon Wheat Kings took a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Ice. The two teams mirrored a 1 of 4 man advantage powerplay, and the Wheat Kings held a 25-24 shots on goal edge.

Two Alberta battles happened with Lethbridge Hurricanes needing overtime to get a 4-3 win over the Red Deer Rebels. Both powerplays were strong, with the Rebels grabbling 2 goals on 5 chances with the powerplay and the Canes nabbing 3 of their four chances in the win.

The Medicine Hat Tigers once again bested the Calgary Hitmen with a 4-2 win. The Hitmen took a 36-33 shots on goal advantage but lost on the powerplay, with the Tigers able to get 3 of their 4 chances in the back of the net while holding the Hitmen off the scoresheet on their four chances. With that, Medicine Hat players Cole Clayton 5-9-14 and Brett Kemp 3-8-10 overtake the scoring title from Dylan Guenther Edmonton Oil Kings 6-4-10 but do so with 2 more games played. Clayton gets the nod as Player of the Week. Guenther from the Edmonton Oil Kings was Player of the Week last week.

The Calgary Hitmen would host The Medicine Hat Tigers, but this time get a 5-4 win. They are starting a three-game in three-night matching during this time. The shots were tied at 41, with Calgary once again being blanked on their one chance with the man advantage and give up a pair to the Tigers on their four chances.

Red Deer skated past Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-1 as Josh Tarzwell would pick up an early second-period goal on the powerplay and a late second-period goal while shorthanded with a third-period assist to lead his team in the win. Lethbridge had tied in right after Tarwell’s PP Goal; however, the next four goals went to the Rebels, including Tarwell’s shorthanded marker. Red Deer got a 35-28 shot advantage on the Canes, and while they gave up nine chances to the Canes on the powerplay, Lethbridge was only able to convert just one chance. Red Deer went two for five on their man-advantage opportunities.

In the East, Regina faced the Saskatoon Blades, and the Blades picked up a 6-3 win, with the Blades getting three in the first and third, with Regina scoring a goal each period. The Blades outshot the Pats 34-30. The Pats did well on the powerplay, going 2 for 2 and holding the Blades to just one goal on three tries, but the Blades could pack it on the scoresheet.

Prince Albert Raiders faced the Moose Jaw Warriors in one big defensive battle, with both goaltenders getting stars. The game went to a shootout for the first time this season. The goals by Kaiden Guhle from Prince Albert early in the second period with a great deal of traffic in front of Boston Bilouis and Daemon Hunt from Moose Jaw early in the third period after a long slapper from the faceoff dot. It took only the three shooters in the Shootout. Ryder Korcazk and Brayden Yager scored for Moose Jaw, and only Ozzy Wiesblatt got one past for Prince Albert, leaving Moose Jaw with the 2-1 Shootout win.

The East would be picked up a couple of weekday games this week to keep the bubble action going. 

To date, they have had no positive tests so far as they get ready to see the US Division start its action in the coming week. Tests were done for both the Central and Eastern Division as they began play. While costly, the tests only show their commitment to getting some season done. 

The Ontario Hockey League is still waiting to ice a team. In Ontario, they can still get a season started; Cases continue to be a problem, a major sticking point to getting some sort of season completed. 

Heading to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where after being unable to play due to rising cases, they have been able to restart action in Nova Scotia with Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles being able to take to the ice. Cape Breton has only been able to get in half of the games thus far and will be trying to catch up over the next bit with several games happening close together.

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About Stuart Kemp 295 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club since 2008 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.