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Portland Winterhawks Swing Through Alberta With Wins & Injuries

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


With six games and 2,500 miles under their belt, the Portland Winterhawks find that they are no closer to nailing down a playoff spot than they were at the start of the monstrous tour.

The Hawks won seven of a possible twelve points, taking 3 wins, (one in overtime), 2 regulation losses and an overtime loss. The first night in Lethbridge, Alex Schoenborn lit the lamp twice along with a pair from Rodrigo Abols to stun the Central Division leading Hurricanes 4-2. One night later, Schoenborn hit for a pair again along with six other scorers in an 8-1 romp over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Hawks had a two day break in Calgary and used it for a team building exercise where the team went curling. The break seemed to sap the momentum the team had as the next game versus the Hitmen, the Winterhawks dropped a 6-2 decision. At the start of the third period, Michael Bullion would replace Adin Hill in the net and surrender two goals in his only appearance between the pipes on the swing.

One night later, it was the Edmonton Oil Kings, desperate for a playoff spot, that beat the Hawks 5-1, It was also a costly night for the Hawks player wise. Caleb Jones suffered a facial injury, though he would return to action wearing a face shield. Conor MacEachern was ridden heavily into the boards and was out of action for several minutes during the game. Two injuries that lasted the rest of the swing happened to Evan Weinger with an upper body injury and Skyler McKenzie with a lower body injury, each has no timeline for their return.

With a night off to rest and only a 90 minutes travel to Red Deer, the Hawks limped in to play the Rebels. The game was a seesaw with both teams often overplaying the puck and making mistakes which both goaltenders having to make huge saves on. The game was knotted at 3 after a pair of goals by Blake Heinrich and one by Dominic Turgeon to send the game into overtime. With less than a minute left, Red Deer capitalized on a Hawks defensive error to take the 4-3 win. 

One night later, and a 6-hour drive, the Hawks went to Cranbrook to face the Kootenay Ice. The Ice have had a devastating year with just 10 wins to show, but gave the Hawks a tough ride. The Alex Schoenborn show continued with a pair of goals, but it was a come from behind as Kootenay had piled up a 3-1 lead toward the end of the second period, before Blake Heinrich scored to tie the game at 3. This game also went to overtime and Rihards Bukarts became the hero with a snapshot past Wyatt Hoflin for the win. 

The Hawks next play at home on Friday, March 4th, the first of 9 games in 16 days to complete the regular season.


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