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Portland Winterhawks Get Stung by the Kelowna Rockets

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


With two games against the Kelowna Rockets in Portland, the Winterhawks looked to see just how far they've come since they rebounded from their tough start. In both games, the Hawks would take an early lead, only to find it evaporated by rapid fire goals that left the team and its fans stunned. The first game saw Portland take a 1-0 lead before Kelowna answered with 2 goals in less than two minutes. Portland would catch up early in the third period, but Kelowna would add three goals, two of which were less than a minute apart to take a two goal lead. Portland would capitalize on the power play late in the contest, but it wouldn't be enough and Kelowna earned a 5-4 win. Special teams made all the difference as Kelowna scored on all three power plays while allowing just one goal on five attempts for Portland. This is a stark contrast to how Portland has played thus far in their shutdown of opponents’ power play.

Less than 24 hours later, the two teams met again with Portland once again taking an early lead. Kelowna, playing its backup goaltender Micheal Herringer, saw Portland tap him for three goals in the first period with Kelowna being blanked in the first frame. However, in eerily similar fashion and following a goaltending change to Jackson Whistle, Kelowna scored four goals in the second period including a shorthanded and power play marker and then added another early in the third to take a two goal lead. Portland would gain one back, but Kelowna would add two more to put the Winterhawks against the wall. Late in the contest, Portland would add a power play goal and pulled Adin Hill for the extra attacker. Kelowna would find a way to the empty net for a rather ugly 8-5 win. Kelowna went 2 for 6 on the power play, Portland went 1 for 3.

Late last week, owing to what is now determined as a season ending injury, Portland moved Carl Erricson to the Injured Reserve list which prevents him from playing this season. With the now open import spot, Portland picked up Rihards Bukarts from the Brandon Wheat Kings for two third round picks. Bukharts is what one would call a "two-spotter", as he is not only an import, but also a 20-year-old player. Bukarts was not available in last week's games due to visa issues, but those were resolved this week which allowed him to suit up for the Winterhawks games against Kelowna.

Bukarts arrival paid dividends as he scored a beautiful goal while Portland was on the power play during the third period and he is expected to line up regularly next to the other Latvian Winterhawk in Rodrigo Abols. 

The next few days are silent for the WHL as players from several teams, including Portland's Adin Hill, will be taking part in the Super Series, CHL vs Russia. The WHL players will square off against Russia on November 9 in Kelowna and November 10 in Kamloops. Adin will then join Portland in Tri-City on Wednesday as the Hawks face the Americans before returning home to face Swift Current Broncos in their only appearance in Portland this season. Portland then travels to Vancouver to play the Giants on Saturday. The Hawks won't play again until the following weekend.

Ice Chips: The Winterhawks will be involved in the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club's 3rd Annual Shop with a Hawk on Tuesday, November 17 at a Portland area Fred Meyer. Children identified from Portland's Mill Park Elementary will take part with each having a Winterhawks player take them on a Christmas shopping experience. The event, fully funded by the non-profit Booster Club, runs $3,000 per season.

Starting this Friday, November 13 and until the first period intermission of the December 12 game, the Booster Club will be offering a silent auction for Christmas ornaments that were decorated by Portland Winterhawks players in late October. This annual event is one of the big fundraisers for the club and each individual piece is unique and signed by the individual player (artist). There are also two ornaments that are signed by the entire team on the auction block as well.

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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