Portland Winterhawks Gear Up For Start Of 2022-2023 Regular Season

Image Credit - Chris Mast - Portland Winterhawks

Portland ended its preseason with three games, two in Kennewick and one at Eastern Washington University. They played Spokane twice within 24 hours before the Saturday night game against Tri-City Americans. 

They picked up a 4-3 shootout win and lost 10-4 the next night. In the first game, Dante Giannuzzi shut the door with a perfect 15 of 15 before giving way to Donovan Bodnar, who was 18 of 21 but stymied the Chiefs in the shootout where the Hawks scored once, but only needed that one. Portland outshot 46-36, and both teams scored once on the powerplay, Portland 1 for 6 and Spokane 1 for 7. Luca Cagnoni scored the only goal in the shootout. 

The next night Luke Brunen went just over 24 minutes, giving up six goals on 14 shots, including a powerplay goal. Dante Gianuzzia came in and saw four get past him on 27 shots, including a powerplay goal. Spokane outshot Portland 41-26, and they went 2 of 4 on the powerplay, and Portland didn’t get even one powerplay. 

Saturday night, Portland walloped Tri-City 7-1. Dante Giannuzzi started the game going 13 of 14, and Donovan Bodnar finished the second half of the game with a perfect seven saves. Portland doubled up the shots at 42-21 and scored 4 of their goals on seven tries of the powerplay. Tri-City was shut out on their five attempts. 

To put things in perspective, Tri-City lost the next night against Spokane but only 3-2 and in overtime due to a powerplay goal. 

With the preseason now done, the Hawks will be less than a week away from the start of the regular season, with dates versus Kamloops and Kelowna on the docket. 

It will be interesting to see what the Hawks look at as far as goaltenders are concerned. There is a possibility they may take three goaltenders with them as Jan Spunar is with the camp of the Edmonton Oilers. The Hawks also miss Cross Hanas, who did not attend training camp in hopes of latching on with the Detroit Red Wings, and Tyson Kozak, who is at the Buffalo Sabres camp. Both of these players are drafted and signed and are what are known as overagers in that they are 20 and are eligible to be put by a parent  NHL Club if signed to either the AHL or NHL Main roster. Others include Ryan McCleary, drafted by Pittsburgh but not signed, Marek Alscher, drafted by Florida but not signed, Jan Spunar as an invite to Edmonton, Gabe Klassen in Colorado, and James Stefan to the Los Angeles Kings. With unsigned players, they either must return to their Junior teams or be signed to be moved to the AHL as a 20-year-old or NHL roster. The timeframe of the five returns will be determined by performance at camp, but most usually look at a maximum of two weeks. 

Brendan Burke, who served as the netminder for the Hawks from 2011-2015, is now an associate goaltender coach for the Hawks. Drafted initially but not signed by the Arizona Coyotes, Burke was released from the Hawks as he was 20, and they were limited on positions and waived through the league. He landed with the London Knights, assisting the team in their Memorial Cup win in 2016. 

Burke then played with the University of Alberta Golden Bears for three years, winning three Canadian titles and a National Championship. 

He was then signed on as the Arizona Jr. Coyotes program as their Goaltending Director. He will continue those duties as well as assist Andy Moog in developing goaltenders and prospects.  

Thirty-three remain on the roster, including four aged 20, and they must reduce it to three as of October 10. Usual rosters are around 23 or so, and there will be some tough decisions in the coming days

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About Stuart Kemp 285 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.