There had been a discussion about whether the Portland Winterhawks could run the table again in February as they did in January. After the past two games in Eastern Washington, that question is even stronger answered.
The Hawks went into Kennewick, Washington having to send back Josh Zareski following the two-game road trip after six games as he was an affiliate player and not permanently on the roster. With the return of Jaydon Dureau, it was not guaranteed if Zareski would play a minimum number of games required of being a rostered player. Dawson Pasternak is still on the sidelines and could be at least until the end of the regular season if he returns.
Tri-City continues to have trouble getting from the basement as they are currently 2-8 in their past 10 and welcomed the Hawks, who are 13-0-0-1 in their past 15 games and remain the hottest team in the WHL.
Midway through the first period, James Stefan retrieved a rush pass from Tri-City and had a mini breakaway which he used to capitalize. Just over a minute later, the Hawks again caused a steal to allow Gabe Klassen to score to put the team up by 2.
The Winterhawks added to their total when James Stefan scored his second of the game while on the powerplay. Cross Hanas added to the total. Tomas Suchanek saved the initial shot, but the rebound was given up, which Hanas buried left corner.
Early in the third period, the Hawks created a rush from their zone and capped it off with a Marcus Nguyen blast from the blue line to handcuff Suchanek. Late in the third period, while on the powerplay, Kyle Chykowski took a hard shot from the faceoff dot and completed the scoring at 6-0. Portland outshot Tri-City 42-25 with a 2-6 for Portland and 0-6 on the powerplay for Tri-City
The next night, action headed to Spokane and the first of five straight matches with the Chiefs.
An early powerplay goal by Jaydon Dureau set the tone for the Hawks as they moved Spokane goalie Mason Beaupit out of position to allow Dureau an open net.
Spokane replied with two goals in 15 seconds as Brayden Crampton and Chase Bertholet scored to give Spokane the lead.
The Hawks answered just 24 seconds later as Kyle Chykowski came out in front of Beaupit to tie the game. Three minutes later, Jaydon Dureau scored on the powerplay to put the Hawks back on top. Much like Dureau’s first goal, he allowed his teammates to pull Beaupit to one side, allowing an open cage for Dureau to shoot at.
Into the second where Graham Sward rifled one from the point, allowing the Chiefs to tie the game again.
Portland only took 26 seconds to reestablish the lead after Clay Hanus was fed a pass out in front by Dureau. Making no mistake, Hanus buried the goal to restore the lead while on the powerplay.
Four minutes later, Marcus Nguyen also picked up a powerplay marker as he was Johnny on the spot following an initial shot from the point.
The third period saw a goaltending change with Manny Panghli taking over for Beupit in the Spokane net. Just over a minute into the period, James Stefan notched his 23rd of the season with a sneaky goal out in front of Panghli.
Jaydon Dureau added a late goal on the powerplay with a breakaway at the blueline to complete the scoring at 7-3. Dureau’s goal was his third of the game and the only hat trick of the season for the team. Portland outshot Spokane 46-19 and were 4-7 on the powerplay, and blanked the Chiefs on five chances.
The Hawks are now 15-0-0-1 and remain behind the Everett Silvertips, who are undefeated in their past seven games. Portland remains eight points back of Everett and are currently in sixth in the overall standings.
It is doubtful that there will be much adjustment in the poll this week as the winning teams kept winning, and Portland played some weak opposition this past week.
Portland still has four more games in this run with the Chiefs, one at home this week and three more, which will see two games this coming weekend and another as a midweek game.
On the 12th, fans can watch the game versus Spokane on TV CW32 Cable 3 and a viewing party on Wednesday, February 15, as the Hawks cap off the run against Spokane. Fans can watch with like-minded fans at Replays Sports Bar and Arcade 15300 Blueridge in Beaverton.
Fans will also celebrate Black Hockey Month on February 19 at the VMC, which will feature several items to visualize and buy at the game. They are also releasing a Hockey is for Everyone shirt for that night.