Portland Winterhawks Capture Playoff Spot For 12th Consecutive Year

Image Credit - PortlandWinterhawks.com

It might not have been the easiest way to do it, but the Hawks are in the postseason for the twelfth consecutive season.

They first went to Kamloops, home of the Blazers and the hosts of this season’s Memorial Cup.

At the trade deadline, Kamloops traded heavily with Everett to get two players giving up ten draft picks, and many thought the Blazers overpaid. Early in the first. Recently acquired Owen Zellweger scored, where Kamloops held court with a 21-8 shot advantage. Kamloops scored twice more in the second period, with the shots even at 12. Portland ran the shot clock, bombarding Dylan Ernst with 25 shots to Kamloops 7, but it was Kamloops who, despite Kyle Chykowski scoring for Portland, had two goals of their own, including an empty net for the win.

Kamloops won the game 5 to 1 and continues to lead the BC Division. They have the Prince George Cougars 22 points back as their competition in the BC Division struggle. Portland led 46 to 40 in shots. Both teams were held off the scoresheet on the man advantage, with Portland 3 tries, Kamloops 2.

The Hawks headed to Kennewick and a matchup with the Tri-City Americans.

Marcus Nguyen opened things up for Portland early in the period. Things then fell apart for Portland as they saw Tri-City score twice in the second and rattled off four more in the third period, rattling off six answered goals as they cruised to a 6 to 1 shellacking of the Winterhawks. Portland went 0 for 1 on the powerplay, with Tri-City scoring twice on six attempts. Tri City had 31 shots versus Portland’s 29.

Portland brought things back to home ice as they celebrated Sportlandia, a tribute to all things sport in Portland.

The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first period. Marcus Nguyen opened things up for Portland just past the five-minute mark of the second period, which was answered just over three minutes later by a shorthanded marker by the Americans. Portland’s Gabe Klassen at 13:30 and Luke Schelter, with just 44 seconds left in the period, put the Hawks up 3-1 at the end of 40 minutes. Diego Buttazoni, early in the third period, gave the Hawks fans a Jumbo Jack Coupon and held Tri-City at bay for the rest of the frame. Neither team scored on the powerplay, with Tri-City having the advantage 3-2 over Portland, and Portland held a 43-26 shot advantage in the contest.

The win by the Hawks was enough to allow them to secure a spot in the postseason, as neither Spokane nor Victoria could catch the Hawks in regular-season play. Spokane and Victoria can still catch other teams to make postseason play, but as the games go on, that gap gets tighter to close. Spokane would have to have a complete miracle to make it to the postseason. Victoria has a better shot, only four points back of Kelowna, but only 17 games to do it. There is a more significant gap to the next place in the Vancouver Giants, Prince George Cougars, and a nearly impossible catch of Everett Silvertips or Tri-City Americans.

Currently, the standings have Portland facing Prince George, but should they catch Seattle, they look to play the Rockets. Portland is a point back of Seattle though they give the Thunderbirds a game in hand. There are six contests between those two clubs with 20 games left, and each one will be important for home ice advantage and the US Division banner,

Next up for the Hawks will be a visiting Red Deer Rebels, holding the top spot in the Central Division. Then the Hawks will travel to Kennewick for another battle with the Tri-City Americans and then a home battle with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who got an added bolster with Dylan Guenther being assigned to them from the NHL Arizona Coyotes.

That was part of a trade on January 10th with Edmonton Oil Kings, who now receive six WHL Prospects Draft picks a first-round selection in 2026, a second-round pick in 2023, fourth-round picks in 2025 and 2026, a fifth-round selection in 2026 and a sixth-round pick in 2024 when Dylan laces up in his first WHL game.

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About Stuart Kemp 301 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.