Portland Winterhawks Welcome Back An Overager, Have A Tough BC Road Trip

The Portland Winterhawks got some news that Jaydon Dureau would be released from his Amateur Tryout with the Syracuse Crunch with a return to Portland as a 20-year-old. This leaves Portland with a dilemma in being down to three twenty-year-olds. Clay Hanus, Kade Nolan, and Jonas Brondberg will compete with Dureau as they have just two weeks to get down to three. With three defensemen listed and one forward in Dureau, it will be tough to get the final cut made. 

This week, Portland ventured for the first time to British Columbia in over a year and a half in dealing with the Pandemic. Only getting two of a possible six points on the trip was a letdown for everyone on the team. 

The first game saw a buzzsaw in the Kamloops Blazers, who would score a 7-1 win over Portland. Giving up three goals in the first ten minutes, with two on the powerplay, put the Hawks behind the eight ball early. Though Portland’s Gabe Klassen was able to also score after Kamloops’ first goal on powerplay, the 15-8 shots by the Blazers showed it would be a long night. Three more goals by Kamloops in the second period, including one just 28 seconds in on an 18-9 shot control by Kamloops, gave the Blazers a commanding 7-1 lead. Kamloops let their foot off the gas, giving Portland an 11-9 shot advantage, but they couldn’t score. In the end, at 7-1 and a 42-28 shot advantage were in Kamloops favor. Portland was also finding themselves in penalty trouble with Kamloops getting nine chances and converting on two; Portland went 1 of 4 with Kamloops men in the box. 

A couple of days off saw the Hawks travel to Kelowna to take on the Rockets, who themselves have not had a great season. Portland started with trading goals with the Rockets as Portland’s Marek Alscher scored just 24 seconds in, only to see Kelowna tie it five minutes later. Portland regained the lead five minutes later with a goal by Tyson Kozak, only to see the Rockets tie it up two minutes later. Two goals by Portland just over a minute later and five minutes gave Portland the double-up lead. Ryan McCleary and then James Stefan on the powerplay helped move Portland 4-2 at the end of one. Starting goaltender Colby Knight was replaced after goal three by Kelowna, replaced by Cole Tisdale, who would go the rest of the game. No goals were scored in the second period, but Kelowna would grab one close to the three-minute mark and then a powerplay goal close to the five-minute mark, tied the game, and would send it to overtime. Nothing was settled there, so the game moved to the shootout.  

The game would remain tied at the end of three rounds of the shootout and moved to sudden death where a shooter from each team would try to get a goal, and should the other side fail, the game would end. It would take two more rounds and a goal by James Stefan to give the Hawks a hard-fought 5-4 win.  Portland was outshot 38-27. Kelowna went 1 for 4 on the powerplay and Portland at 1-3. 

The next night it was the host Vancouver Giants who took on the Hawks. Three goals in a span of just over two minutes by the Giants spelled the end for starting goaltender Dante Giannuzzi and being replaced by Lochlan Gordon. Gordon would play shutout hockey the rest of the game and be voted the third star. It would take until 17:21 of the third period with a goal by Tyson Kozak to take the shutout off the board against the Giants. Despite Portland with a shot advantage 40-29, they couldn’t overcome the deficit in the game. Portland went 1of 5 of the powerplay, Vancouver 1-4 on theirs. 

Portland now heads to Tri-City on Friday and Seattle on Saturday with the end of the long away trip and will then be on a huge homestand through December.

Avatar photo
About Stuart Kemp 364 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. 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.