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Roller Coaster Ride for the Portland Winterhawks Early in the Season

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Without a doubt, this early season for the Portland Winterhawks is one that will be described as a roller coaster.  After dropping their first two games of the season on the road, the Hawks came home and lost to Everett, which put them behind the eight ball. Portland suddenly woke up and shutout the Spokane Chiefs 5-0 in an impressive display of firepower on the scoresheet, but also on the defensive mode as they eliminated the chances that Spokane had in the game. 

Alas, the victory was short-lived as the next game, Portland was shut out 4-0 by the Prince Albert Raiders, a team they see just once a year and one that has undergone some major changes both on and off the ice. Prince Albert took out most of the US Division teams on its swing this season. Portland would once again bounce back, this time with another firepower effort and a 5-1 win over Everett Silvertips. With this being the first game at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, it seemed fitting that the Hawks would play a fast paced free for all game with 80 shots registered during the game, reminiscent of decades gone past. Evan Weinger, one of the players expected to have a breakout season, scored his first two goals of the season and Alex Schoenborn and captain Dominic Turgeon also scored to lead the way. 

That victory was short lived as the team then traveled to Kennewick to face the Tri-City Americans in the first of ten meetings this season. The Americans have undergone a few changes this off season and expect to bring a consistent performance nightly. Against the Portland Winterhawks, they certainly did that. While not flashy, Tri-City found ways to irritate the Hawks and forcing many inopportune penalties. Though Tri-City took 7 penalties to the Hawks 4, Portland could only capitalize once, while Tri-City was able to do so on two occasions, which led them to a 4-2 victory.

The Hawks now regroup with their next home games on Friday versus the Everett Silvertips and then Sunday, October 25 against another once a year visiting team, the Brandon Wheat Kings. Brandon is also proving itself to be a tough match having lost just once in regulation thus far. 

The Western Hockey League’s mandate to cut-down to 3 overage players took effect on October 15 with teams either having to trade or release players. Only two teams picked up players on the overage waivers wire and Portland stayed pat despite only having two overage players on the roster. The big move was Everett releasing goaltender Austin Lotz, which was expected as they are sticking with the younger Carter Hart. Lotz ended up in Medicine Hat, a team noted for having an overage goaltender each season. 

Portland did make a trade unrelated to the overage deadline when they sent defenseman Nick Heid to Medicine Hat Tigers for a 4th round bantam pick in 2017. This is the same pick that Portland traded to the Hat last year to obtain overage forward Miles Koules. Heid had played a quarter of last year's season before undergoing shoulder surgery that sidelined him until training camp. Though he had suited up for a couple games in Portland this season, his minutes were heavily reduced and had been off dealing with another unrelated injury. Heid should expect a ton of minutes when he is healthy.

Ice Chips: The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club sold out the bus to the Alberta Swing in just 2 games and will see if there are enough fans to offer a second bus. Details are available at the next three home games, in which the second bus must be filled with a minimum of 30 people to go. There is also a Les Schwab appearance with Adin Hill, Alex Schoenborn and Carl Ericson on Wednesday, October 21 from 4-6pm in Tigard.

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.


Related Slideshow: 5 Sports Teams With Offensive Mascots

Native American activists see the logo of the Portland Winterhawks as offensive and are demanding the team make a change. Here a some other mascots certain people find offensive. 

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