Well, we have passed Thanksgiving, and now we are hurtling towards Christmas, and we still have half a homestand to go.
The Hawks have an unreal 11 game homestand, of which they have already played some phenomenal opponents. As they head into the final stretch of the homestand, the opposition may appear to be a tad easier, but they will still have to be on their toes with such a young squad.
First off, though, is the situation with Seth Jarvis, who has now passed the nine-game threshold for burning the first year of his Entry Level deal with Carolina Hurricanes. He certainly has been impressive since the injury to another former Hawk in Nino Niederreiter, creating the opportunity. He has certainly impressed. Even though he has started the contract off, he can come back to Portland. As he is not yet 20, he cannot go to the AHL and return to Junior. No one can say for sure that he will come back, but it’s a dream, right?
The Hawks played games against Everett, Vancouver, Kamloops, and a pair against Kelowna. Only Kelowna netted the Hawks 4 points in the standings with a wild shootout game and a regulation win. They took Everett to overtime with a loss there and the same against Vancouver and came so close to taking Kamloops to the limit but fell in regulation.
First up was Everett and a 3-2 Overtime loss. The Hawks went 1-2 on the powerplay and Everett 1 for three, keeping it tight during regulation. Everett outshot Portland 41-31. While it may have been an overtime loss, doing so against a top-ranked team bodes well for a young squad.
The Hawks then had a pair against Kelowna Rockets, who have made things interesting with a sold winning streak getting close to .700. The Hawks would face off versus Kelowna, with the Hawks needing a solid win to keep up on both Tri-City and Spokane, who are trying to make that final playoff spot.
The Hawks took a 2-0 lead before seeing it sliced in half by the Rockets. The Hawks then scored three straight goals to give them what appeared to be a commanding 5-1 lead. Taryn Boyko was then replaced by Colby Knight in the nets, and he saved everything his way in regulation. With that, the Rockets were not to be outdone as they rattled off four straight and tied the game with it now headed to overtime. The Rockets thought they had scored late in the game with the goal light coming on and a team celebration. However, a video review showed the puck had hit the crossbar and not crossed the goal line. The game then went to a shootout. The Rockets could not figure Dante Gianuzzi, with Jaydon Dureau getting the Hawks’ only goal which was all they needed in a 6-5 shootout win. Kelowna outshout Portland 39-36, with Portland going 1-3 and the Rockets 1-4 on the powerplay.
The next night Portland picked up a 4-2 win with neither team connecting on the powerplay despite Kelowna having six tries and Portland 4. Portland outshot Kelowna 38-25 and led the game throughout, with them capturing four straight goals, which led to Colby Knight’s early exit after just 11:53 in the first. Tayrn Boyko went the rest of the way and kept the Hawks shut out. Kelowna scored twice in the second period to halve the Hawks’ lead but could never get any closer as they fell to the Hawks in regulation. Lochlan Gordon picked up the win for the Hawks.
Portland then faced Vancouver, with Dante Giannuzzi getting the start for Portland against Vancouver’s Jesper Vikman. Portland outshot Vancouver 43-28 with Portland 1-8 and Vancouver 1-5 on the powerplay. Portland saw Vancouver take the lead in the game before two goals by the Hawks, including a powerplay goal, put them up 2-1. Vancouver would tie the score less than two minutes later while getting their only powerplay goal. Vancouver would cap off the night with the overtime winner at 3:30 to give them a 3-2 com from behind overtime win.
The curtains came down with Kamloops Blazers being the opposition in the daylight game which followed Thanksgiving. Neither Kamloops at 0-4 nor Portland at 0-3 could connect on the powerplay. Portland blasted 46 shots Kamloops way with 34 headed Dante Giannuzzi’s way. Kamloops would open the scoring but saw the Hawks score three straight to have them up 3-1 after two. Kamloops, heading the BC Division, showed why they are atop the Division with three straight in the third, and despite the Hawks looking to gain the equalizer, just couldn’t put one past Dylan Ernst and fell 4-3 in regulation.
The Hawks will continue the homestand with games on Wednesday against a tough Prince George Cougar team, a perplexing Victoria Royals team, followed by Everett Silvertips, and a pair against Spokane. The homestand ends December 14 with a return battle against Everett.
TV will start December 11 with the Teddy Bear toss against Spokane with a 6 pm start on CW. The Teddy Bear Toss on the 11th will help collect the furry critters to be given to various charities, and the Toy Drive on December 4 will help put a toy under the tree for those who look to be without this holiday season.
The NHL announced its class of entrants to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Marian Hossa, a one-time Winterhawk before having a storied career in the NHL, has been admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Braydon Coburn, another former Winterhawk Alumni, has announced his retirement.