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Winterhawks Whipping Up 8 Straight Wins and Heading to Final Games

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


The Portland Winterhawks used this past week to pile on the points on the ice and in the standings as they moved to within a single point of the Everett Silvertips for the overall US Division lead. Though the Tips have three games in hand over Portland, it is the Winterhawks that seem to be in the lead. Portland has won 9 of its last 10 games and in most cases by considerable margins.

The three games in four nights this past week saw them upend the Victoria Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night in a see-saw battle with the BC Division's second place team. Alex Schoenborn scored a goal and added two assists in the game, while Chase De Leo scored the game winner and added an assist.

The Hawks followed it up with games of 6-2 scores against the Kamloops Blazers and 6-3 against the Everett Silvertips. The Kamloops game saw Portland scored five straight goals before the Blazers hit the scoreboard, including a pair from Chase De Leo and had given fans their Jumbo Jack coupons before the first period was over. Oliver Bjorkstrand picked up a goal and two assists on the night and has been rapidly climbing the overall points ladder in the WHL.

Against the US Division leading Everett Silvertips, Portland's top lines buried the puck continuously as Nic Petan had a five point night with a goal and four assists, Chase De Leo picked up two goals and Oliver Bjorkstrand netted a hat trick plus three assists in a six point night. Oliver's six point night is the first by a Winterhawk since 2002 and puts him in third place for the overall WHL scoring title. To put his accomplishments in perspective, Oliver's 35 goals and 35 assists this season have been completed in only 40 games, 10 fewer than the league leaders and he is within 15 points of the league lead. 

Adin Hill, who started as the backup goaltender for Portland this season, has the best overall save percentage in the WHL at 92.7% after 30 games played. With a goals against average of 2.70, he is eighth amongst all goaltenders in his rookie season. He has played all of the last ten games in which the Hawks have a 9-1 record. 

The Hawks get most of this week off except for Tuesday's player appearance at the Hawthorne Burgerville location. Players attending will be Hill, Josh Hanson, Miles Koules, Layne Viveiros amd Anton Cederholm, who will offer autographs and pictures from 5:30 to 7:30pm on Tuesday February 3. The games resume on Friday when Portland travels to Kent, WA for a battle versus Seattle Thunderbirds and then a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Everett Silvertips.

The quirky schedule also has Portland playing just four home games in the month of February with the first one not until Friday, February 13. Only four of the remaining nineteen games are against opponents from outside the US Division, so the points will become much more valuable down the stretch. Because Portland will play just nine games in the month of February, the games in hand by other teams will be caught up during that time and the Hawks will watching those games closely. 

Ice Chips: The Booster Club just sold out its last fan trip of the season to Seattle in March and now begins to look at ideas for trips next season. The schedule isn't available until July, but there is considerable interest in adding Alberta to the list of arenas visited as part of the Central Swing. Membership renewals and signups will occur at the Hawthorne Burgerville on Tuesday, February 3, McGuillicuddy's on NE Halsey during a Winterhawks viewing party on Friday, February 6 and Kenton Station viewing party on Sunday, February 8. Regular renewals will begin at the first home game on Friday, February 13. The Booster Club announced that it will make a large donation to the Children's Cancer Association this season during the annual telethon February 11 and 12.

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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