Portland Winterhawks Pick Up Points, Only Earn 2 Wins For Their Efforts

Keith Dwiggins / Winterhawks.com

This past week, the Portland Winterhawks played a home-and-home series with Vancouver before taking a week off and playing three games in as many nights this week. The Winterhawks are in the midst of a heavy November and December schedule leading up to the halfway point of the season at New Year’s Eve.

The first game in Vancouver was a tough one. Giving up three goals in the first period put the Hawks in a big bind. The one saving grace was that none of the goals occurred on the powerplay. Reece Newkirk finally broke the goose egg as they approached the fifteen-minute mark on the final period. Neither Portland nor Vancouver capitalized on the powerplay with their four chances each. Vancouver outshot Portland 38-27 including a 21-9 thrashing in the first period. The final score was 3-1, a flattering score for Portland as Vancouver dominated the game.

The next night back in Portland, things were a different story. While Vancouver did have a 31-28 shot advantage, the Hawks kept pace with the Giants during the game. Neither team scored on the four powerplays. Vancouver opened the scoring early in the first period but was countered in the second period by Jack O’Brien. The score would remain deadlocked through the second and third periods. Vancouver outshot Portland in the overtime frame, but the team was unable to put one past Joel Hofer. The shootout then took place. After the first three rounds, the teams were still tied. It finally went Portland’s way after nine rounds of the shootout when Mason Mannek was able to get one past Trent Miner to gain Portland the extra point for the team as Portland picked up the 2-1 win in a shootout.

Three days later, the team was involved in the annual Shop With A Hawk event. The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club raised $3000 to give a Christmas to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have one. There were shirts, pants and shoes and a few toys as the children from one class were able to forget about their issues for a little while and be able to be kids again. Now in its seventh year, the PWHBC has donated over $20,000 to this cause. Residual funds will go to help those unable to take part in this program.

Portland then played three games in three nights with a game at home, one on the road and then one back at home. The first game was against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs opened the scoring early in the game before Jonas Brondberg tied it for the Hawks. Spokane added a late goal to give them a 2-1 lead heading into the second frame. Kishaun Gervais bagged his first WHL goal very early in the second period and added to by Lane Gilliss on the powerplay late in the frame to give the Hawks their first lead. The Winterhawks almost made it out with the win but gave up a goal as Spokane had benched their goaltender for the extra attacker. With the tie, the game was sent into overtime. With just a minute left in the overtime period, Spokane was able to finish the game getting one past Joel Hofer for the 4-3 overtime win. Portland went 1 for 2 with the man advantage and shut out Spokane on four tries.Portland also outshot Spokane 39-26 in the game.

Portland then played in Seattle with Isaiah DiLaura getting the start for Portland against the top goaltender on Seattle’s front in Roddy Ross. The Thunderbirds have been hot and cold this season, but they were looking to be hot as they played the Hawks for the second time and on CW32. Captain John Ludvig  started things off for Portland with his ninth goal on the season, but the Thunderbirds would score three times between the first and second periods to take the lead. The Hawks showed why the game is a 60-minute game, though, as they scored twice in 12 seconds. The first went to Jack O’Brien as he notched his first of the season and then Jaydon Dureau added one with his second of the campaign. The score remained tied until the seven-minute mark of the third period when Seattle was able to go up by one again. Recent call-up Gabe Klassen scored his first WHL goal to tie things up for the Hawks near the midway mark of the third period. The game was then sent into overtime where nothing was settled with both teams having a pair of shots on net. Seattle scored on its first two attempts in the shootout and Portland wasn’t able to get anything. Seattle was able to take the game 5-4 in a shootout over the Hawks. Portland outshot Seattle 51-27 but it was on special teams that Seattle flourished. Portland was only able to score once in five tries, while Seattle was 2 of 4 with the man advantage. 

The next night Portland was at home to face the Winnipeg Ice. The Ice, which moved from Kootenay during the offseason is holding on to a playoff spot, four points up on Moose Jaw. Kishaun Gervais started things off on a right foot for Portland as he scored less than two minutes into the game. That score held through the first intermission. Jake Gricius learned trick from Kishaun to score early and he did,—just forty seconds into the second period—to put the Hawks up by a pair. Gricius figured the early touch seemed good so he scored just over a minute into the third period to give the Hawks a commanding 3-0 lead. Just past the 15-minute mark, Winnipeg finally got a goal through Joel Hofer to bring the gap to two. The Hawks tried to find the empty net late in the period and were denied by some strong backchecking, but a give-and-go between Matt Quigley and Reece Newkirk gave Reece his sixth of the season and restores the three-goal lead with just five seconds remaining. Winnipeg outshout Portland 34-28 but only gained one goal against the number one star in Hofer. Gricius and Newkirk rounded out the Three Stars of the game. 

Portland with the points this week remains two back of US Division leading Everett after playing 20 games (to Everett’s 19).  Tri City, which has been relatively quiet, sits four back of the Hawks also having a game in hand in the Division. The CHL poll this past week saw the Hawks off the Honorable Mention list, Everett vaulted to fourth place overall and both Prince Albert and Edmonton slipped down the rankings to fifth and sixth, respectively.

Honorable mention this past week went to both Lethbridge Hurricanes and Kamloops Blazers. Because of the shootout overtime loss, Portland will not make the rankings this week. Sherbrooke Phoenix continues to be at the top after unseating Oshawa from the top seed a couple weeks back.

The latest CHL Poll has the teams lined up as follows:

(1) Sherbrooke Phoenix, (2) Oshawa Generals, (3) Moncton Wildcats, (4) Everett Silvertips, (5) Prince Albert Raiders, (6) Edmonton Oil Kings, (7) Windsor Spitfires, (8) Chicoutimi Sagueneens, (9) Ottawa 67’s, and (10) Peterborough Petes, with honourable mention to the Cape Breton Eagles, Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Kamloops Blazers.

Portland will play games Wednesday at home against a stingy Vancouver team, then weekend games against Division leading Everett where they will collect toys for the KPTV Toy Drive and then face a tough Saskatoon Blades team on Sunday. These games will be played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. They will hit the road for two doubleheaders as they first play in Kamloops against the Blazers and then travel to Prince George for midweek games against the Cougars. They will play the same Cougars on Saturday the 7th in the annual Teddy Bear Toss and Sunday the 8th, both to take place at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

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About Stuart Kemp 279 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.