The Portland Winterhawks are always competitive, to be specific, but they are proving that even without major trades, they continue to make life miserable for opponents.
The Hawks did drop a 5-4 shootout decision to the Prince George Cougars as they couldn’t get the winner in regulation or overtime. A pair of goals, including the one in the third period to tie things up by Ondrej Becher, gave the Cougars momentum in the shootout they needed.
Hawks got goals from Marcus Nguyen with a pair, Gabe Klassen and Luke Schelter. Chase Wheatcroft scored in the shootout as well, and Carter MacAdams took the game to a shootout.
Jan Spunar faced his first-ever shootout as the Hawks outshot Prince George 40-31 and went 1 for 4, but gave Prince George 6 powerplay chances with them, fortunately killing off 5 of them.
As the anticipated matchups with Seattle took place, Portland then went on a tear. In Portland, Dante Giannuzzi took the start between the pipes.
Five different Hawks scored for Portland in Ryan McCleary at the 20-second mark, Marcus Alscher, also early in the first period and powerplay goals by Jack O’Brien and James Stefan in the second period were the killers of Seattle. Jordan Gustafson finally broke the shutout near the end of the period, but Marcus Nguyen restored the four-goal lead into the empty net, and the Portland Winterhawks skated off with a 5-1 win. Portland edged Seattle in shots at 32-29, going 2 for 4 on the powerplay, limiting Seattle to one goal on the powerplay on five chances. Scott Ratzlaff took the loss for Seattle.
The following night it saw the same two teams, this time in Seattle, with Thomas Milic for Seattle and Jan Spunar for Portland.
Seattle started things off with a goal by Nico Myatovic, but Portland’s Gabe Klassen got that back while the team was shorthanded. Portland’s Marcus Nguyen and Dawson Pasternak gave the Hawks a 2 goal lead by the midway mark of the second period. Seattle cut the lead four minutes later with the second of the night by Nico Myatovic. Gabe Klassen got that back just under a minute later. Seattle’s Kevin Korchinski got Seattle with Milic out. They couldn’t find the twine, falling for the second night to the Hawks 5-3. Portland outshot Se4attle 32-28, but they shined on special teams with 4 for 7 on the powerplay and a shorthanded goal. Seattle scored once on the powerplay but had 11 powerplays in a gritty contest.
Portland then came home with a third game in three nights as they faced the Spokane Chiefs, who have been sellers of date.
In this game, coaches got many grey hairs, and Portland won an ugly 8-7 decision in a shootout.
Portland built a 4 – 0 lead just 13 minutes in the game as Jack O’Brien secured a pair, Luca Cagnoni and Ryan McCleary scored, with them chasing off Mason Beaupit for Cooper Michaluk between the pipes. Spokane got three, with Raegan Wiles, Blake Swetlikoff, and Ty Cheveldayoff scoring. Gabe Klassen upped the total seconds later, before Raegan Wiles with his second of the night, and Carter Streek brought Spokane even again.
The two teams traded the next four goals, with Robbie Fromm-Delorme getting a pair and Ty Cheveldayoff getting a couple and a hat trick as the teams went to a scoreless overtime and saw the Hawks get two goals to just one by Spokane. Spokane went 2 for 4 on the powerplay, and Portland scored 4 of 6 on the powerplay. The shots were close as Portland edged Spokane 41-39.
Portland then went to Canada with a pair of games versus Victoria.
Starting Dante Giannuzzi, the Hawks once again took complete control with a pair of goals by Robbie Fromm-Delorme and a pair by Luca Cagnoni before Victoria broke the shutout early in the third period with Jake Poole on the powerplay. Portland’s Aiden Litke scored a late powerplay goal to give the Hawks a 5-1 win. Portland fired 47 shots to just 22 for Victoria and went 3 for 6 on the powerplay to one goal on three chances for Victoria.
Jan Spunar took his turn between the pipes as he faced Tyler Palmer for Victoria in his hopes of redemption from the night before.
Marek Alscher got the Hawks on the board, with Riley Gannon scoring just under a minute later. Portland’s Ryan McCleary scored 22 seconds later, and Gabe Klassen just over two minutes later to give the Hawks the lead going into the locker room.
Dawson Pasternak scored early in the second, only to see Riley Gannon with his second of the night while shorthanded. Goals by Aiden Litke and Gabe Klassen less than two minutes apart chased Palmer from the net for Logan Cunningham in relief.
Under a minute later, Victoria responded with Jake Poole ending the frame with the Hawks up by three. Halfway through the third, Teague Patton closed the gap, but Robbie Fromm-Delorme closed the scoring with the final 7-4. Portland blasted 43-25 shots at Victoria as Portland could get one goal on their three powerplay chance while shutting down Victoria’s three chances.
Spokane seems to be selling again, as, after the Graham Sward trade to Winnipeg, they traded Mason Beaupit and an 8th-round pick in 2023 to the ICE for Dawson Cowan, a 4th-round selection in 2025, and third and sixth-round picks in 2026. It seems they are looking to Memorial Cup along with Seattle, and it will be interesting to see if either team continues to make more moves. The obvious look will be on Connor Bedard as Regine continues to hold onto him as they play .500 hockey, and Bedard is again leading the goals and assists in the WHL.
The Hawks rank sixth in the latest CHL rankings as the Red Deer Rebels, with their astonishing 15 and 3 record leading the way with Quebec Remparts in second. Winnipeg Ice drops to third, with Ottawa 67’s and Sherbrooke Phoenix above the Hawks. Windsor Spitfires, Seattle Thunderbirds, Halifax Mooseheads, and North Bay Battalion round out the top 10.
Honorable mention goes to Saskatoon Blades, Victoriaville Tigers, and Everett Silvertips.
The Hawks will now play three at home with the Calgary Hitmen in their only appearance with Hawks Fight Hunger on Tuesday. Then a game versus Everett on Friday with Hometown Heroes Night and the 19th with a match against Kamloops and Hockey is for Everyone celebrating Women in Hockey.
People can look at the Ornaments starting on the 15th and 18th by voting for their favorites.
The 19th will also be the start of the annual Christmas Ornament Auction, where they will reveal who created which ornament at the Booster Club table Entry MM. See the players’ creativity and own a one-of-a-kind item decorated and signed by the players. Of course, if you can’t choose one, there are also ones the entire team has signed.