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Portland Winterhawks Split Weekend and Reduce Roster

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With Portland having played more games thus far in the season than the other Western Conference teams, the Winterhawks had just two games this week, both at home. Portland made some roster reductions prior to the weekend games by releasing overage goaltender Bolton Pouliot and reassigning Colton Veloso to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Carter Czakowski to the Alberta Junior Hockey League. For both seventeen year old players, they will return at some point during the season while Pouliot was placed on waivers, allowing him to go to any team in the CHL or take the education package.

However, prior to Carter and Colton's departure, the two players, along with the rest of the Winterhawks roster, headed to the Fred Meyer for the second annual “Shop with a Hawk.” This year, 26 children from Lincoln Elementary were treated to one-on-one time with a Winterhawks player to go holiday shopping. The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club generously donated $3,000 to the event to allow each player $100 to spend with their child. These are kids who would otherwise not have a Christmas owing to the fact that they are either on free or heavily reduced lunch and in most cases are also bringing home a bag of groceries for the family on weekends through Backpack Buddies. The kids selected toys and other trinkets, along with clothing and shoes, and were given new socks and gloves from the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division along with a pair of tickets to an upcoming Portland Winterhawks game from the team.

Then it was down to business and games against the Red Deer Rebels and Kamloops Blazers, two teams that are ahead of Portland in the standings. Friday night saw the Rebels and Winterhawks score four goals in the first period and led people to think it was going to be an old fashioned shootout. The second period saw Red Deer open up a two goal lead and held it through the midway point of the third period. Goals just over a minute apart, though, put the Hawks on an even keel with the Rebels and the focus shifted to the Winterhawks attack. Despite all their efforts, the Hawks weren't able to squeeze another goal in. Red Deer found a way into the Hawks zone as time was winding down and somehow a floating shot from about 25 feet out, found its way past Winterhawks goaltender Michael Bullion with just ten seconds left in the game to seal it for the visitors. Red Deer defeated the Winterhawks 5-4. Portland heavily outshot the Rebels 48-31, but wasn't able to capitalize on any of the four power plays that they had. Red Deer went 1 for 2 on the power play.

Just 24 hours later, the Winterhawks would battle the Kamloops Blazers in a “Salute to the Military Night.” The Hawks opened the scoring as Ethan Price took a pinpoint shot over the glove of the Kamloops goaltender just over three minutes into the game. Kamloops would come right back with a pair of goals to take the lead. With less than thirty seconds left in the period, while on the power play, Layne Viveiros blasted a rocket from the point to tie the game at two. Kamloops would take the lead five minutes into the second after the Hawks broke down defensively allowing Kamloops' Quinn Benjafield to score on his own rebound. The Winterhawks power play came back midway through the frame as Oliver Bjorkstrand  netted his 11th goal of the year following some tough work by Winterhawks captain Nic Petan. The score would remain tied at the end of regulation, despite some last minute scrambles at both ends.

The game headed to overtime where the Hawks took the only shot of the period and in a reversal of heroics, Nic Petan received the pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand to net only his second of the year, but a huge goal as the Winterhawks get two points by beating Kamloops 3-2 in overtime. 

Nic wouldn't get much time to celebrate as he would hop a plane to Saskatoon to be a part of the Subway Super Series, an opportunity for the best in the Canadian Hockey League to face the best juniors players from Russia. Nic will be part of games November 10 in Saskatoon and November 11 in Brandon with the Russians, then moving on for two games against the Ontario Hockey League and two against the Quebec Major Junior League. 

The Winterhawks will return to action on Friday and Sunday in a home-and-home series with the Everett Silvertips. In between those games, the Winterhawks players will be meeting fans and signing autographs at nine local area Toyota dealerships on Saturday November 15 from 3-4pm.

Ice Chips: The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, in conjunction with the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division, will be collecting nonperishable food donations for their pantry. Each person who brings at least three items will be entered to win a team signed stick for this season. The Booster Club and Sunshine Division will also team up on Sunday, December 7 for the annual “Keep Portland Warm Night” to collect blankets, socks and new and gently used clothing for the disadvantaged. Both games will take place at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Booster Club has two fan trips over the next two months, a local one to Kennewick to watch the Winterhawks vs. the Tri City Americans and one long trip to Canada to see the Hawks play Prince George Cougars over two nights. Details available here

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.


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