This past week, the Winterhawks had an almost Jekyll and Hyde in taking on Victoria Royals and then Everett Silvertips.
First up was Victoria, where they fired 52 shots to 18. The Hawks started well with a powerplay goal by James Stefan at 6:45 and followed it up with a Beauty by Aiden Litke to start the second period and looked to control the game. Victoria rattled off four straight goals, including a powerplay goal in the second period and a shorthanded marker in the third period. Midway through the third period Jaydon Dureau scored, followed by a late third period goal by James Stefan in his second of the night.
Though the Hawks got five shots in the Overtime period, it only takes one, which Victoria got. Bailey Peach could get out in front and zinged one past Lochlan Gordon to earn the two points for the Royals. Portland scored once out of six tries while Victoria went 1of 4.
The next night Portland would play the Everett Silvertips. The Tips have been having some issues of late in losing a game the night before Vancouver after thrashing the Tri-City Americans the previous night.
The Hawks, with a tough loss against Victoria the previous night, were looking to see if the Tips were hungry for the win.
Portland spread out their scoring with three powerplay goals, one in each of the periods, and with seven different scorers, the Hawks pulled off a major thumping of the Everett Silvertips 7-1. Tyson Kozak, on the powerplay, scored the first goal just before the fifteen-minute mark. Two goals within 35 seconds by Aiden Litke and Luca Cagoni put the Hawks up by three as the first period came to a close.
Everett switched goaltenders, with Koen MacIness taking over for Braden Holt. Everett didn’t fare any better with James Stefan scoring early, a powerplay marker by Cross Hanas four minutes later, and Jack O’Brien with one second left in the second period to put the Hawks up 6-0. Everett broke the shutout just over two minutes into the third period.
Everett tried to snap the players out of a funk by switching goaltenders again. Braden Holt took over in the nets from Koen MacIness The Winterhawks would restore the six-goal lead just over a minute later with a powerplay marker by Robbie Fromm-Delorme. The 32-30 shot advantage by Everett and a futile 0-4 powerplay by the Tips to 3-6 for Portland showed its strength in special teams.
Portland’s Jaydon Dureau was named WHL Player of the Week with three goals and seven assists for ten points in three games. His weekly total was better than the top point-getters his week in the entire CHL.
Former Winterhawks made the news with a massive housecleaning of the NHL Vancouver Canucks.
Travis Green, head coach of the Canucks, and Jim Benning, who graced the ice for the Hawks from 1978-1981, were fired from the Canucks along with three other front office staff. Green, who played four years with the WHL for Spokane and had a long 15-year career in the NHL, was part of the significant change in Portland when Bill Gallacher bought the Winterhawks in 2008. Green would rise to fame when filling in as head coach during the 2013 sanctions against the Hawks. Greene took the team to the Memorial Cup final, in which they would ultimately lose to the Halifax Mooseheads. His hard work didn’t go unnoticed as he was tapped to head the Utica Comets of the AHL. His record there was such that he was moved up to the head coaching spot of the Vancouver Canucks in 2017.
In his debut behind the bench, Bruce Boudreau took over as the bench boss for the last place Canucks with a shutout win 4-0 over the LA Kings.
With the pandemic, the WHL will run two drafts this week.
The US Priority draft will be held first, with the Hawks holding two selections as teams were very limited following the end of this past season and the start of training camp. The players chosen will be Western States 2006 born players.
Players not selected in the 2021 WHL US Priority Draft will remain eligible to be selected in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday or listed by a WHL Club at any time after that.
A day later will be the traditional WHL draft, with five selections of ten being from rounds two to five. The Hawks had traded their first round selection to Swift Current as part of the Joel Hofer trade.
The players will be chosen from the Western States and Western Canadian provinces.