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Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Some may say it will be a long season for the Portland Winterhawks after losing so much scoring power in the offseason. Players like Nic Petan, Chase DeLeo and Oliver Bjorkstrand accounted for the majority of the scoring touch in the 2014/15 season.

This year, it falls to a grittier, somewhat larger team, but one without the finesse or finishing touches that the team has had the past few seasons. In their first three games, the Winterhawks have been unable to put one in the win column, losing twice to Victoria on the road and their home opener versus Everett on Saturday night.

The first game of the season with Victoria was a tough one to watch for Hawks fans as the Royals home opener was very much all about them. The big positive for Portland was on the penalty kill as they stopped 6 of 7 opportunities, but the power play was another story. Going 0 for 6 on the night made it difficult for Portland to gain momentum. It would take until midway through the third period before Swedish Forward Carl Ericson drove a rocket past the Victoria goaltender which would be Portland's only goal as they would drop the game 4-1.

The next night, Portland looked to battle harder to the net and were rewarded with goals, but it seemed to be back and forth goals with the Royals before Victoria would add a pair to give them the edge. Portland, down 2 goals, was able to close the gap with just under three minutes remaining, but even after they pulled goaltender Michael Bullion, they could never find the equalizer. Portland's 6-5 loss was a tough one as they headed home for the opener on Saturday night.

Michael Bullion was pressed into service as goaltender for the Victoria games as starter Adin Hill developed an upper body injury sometime during warmups and was a late scratch. Hill would debut in Portland on Saturday night after a full week of practice that seemed to eliminate any signs of the injury. Portland started strong with Rodrigo Abols, the Latvian import who was drafted by the Hawks this season, jetting the puck past Everett goalkeeper Carter Hart just over 5 minutes into the game. However, this goal would be the only one the Hawks would get past Hart, despite some incredible flurries to the net. Everett would tie the score three minutes later and add goals in each of the next two periods for a 3-1 win.

The game got chippy at times with even goaltender Adin Hill being cited for a roughing minor, but even the physicality didn't seem to help the Hawks who stand at 0-3 to start the season. Lest anyone jump to conclusions, the Hawks started last season at 1-7, before rebounding to a top two finish in the Division and a trip to the Western Conference final. Whether that happens this season or not remains to be seen, but there are nearly 70 games left in a season that is full of potholes and changes. 

The Winterhawks will get back into action next Friday night as they host the Spokane Chiefs at the Moda Center and games against Seattle on Sunday and Prince Albert Raiders in their only appearance this season on Tuesday, before a rematch with Everett closes out their homestand.

Ice Chips

The Winterhawks will be busy with community events in October as they have the annual Toyota Hockey Family Day with 12 area dealerships having players come in and sign autographs which will take place on Sunday, October 18 from 12-1pm. Their next appearance at Les Schwab is Wednesday, October 28 in Tigard.

The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club has been busy as well. On opening night, they reached their 400th member of the season for the fifth straight year. They also finalized plans for the Central Alberta Swing trip with enough people already signed up to make the trip a go. There is still limited space on the initial bus. Should that bus sell out and interest still be there, the Booster Club will offer a wait list with deposits to see if a second bus will be able to go. Further information of this trip is 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.


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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