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Portland Winterhawks Win Three In A Row, Caplitalizing On The Power Play

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Following the past few weeks of light schedule, the Portland Winterhawks saw their biggest test this past weekend with three games in three nights and in three different venues. After hitting a rough start to the season, Portland was in a more focused mode, one that would give them more aim in practice in hopes of turning around a season that hadn't exactly gone their way.

To be successful, games against divisional opponents are the ones needed to earn not only alot of points in the standings, but because those teams are the ones faced most often. Portland would have two games against tough divisional opponents in the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans on the road, but would then have to face the top team from the Eastern Division, which also happens to be tops in the WHL. A monumental task one might say, but one that Portland and its fans were looking forward to just to see where this team was headed. 

A three hour trip north to Everett saw the Hawks heavily outshot in the first period by the Tips, but it was Colton Veloso from Portland who would find the back of the net after great work by Carter Czaikowski and Rodrigo Abols. That score, midway through the first period would hold up throughout the game and despite Everett's continued attack, they were unable to get a puck past Adin Hill. Dominic Turgeon would add an empty net goal with just seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Hawks. It was then back home and a four-hour drive the next day to Kennewick, where the Hawks looked to exact a little revenge against the Ams, who won 4-2 last time in Kennewick. Unlike the day prior, where few penalties were called, the Hawks found themselves in penalty trouble early and often. The Hawks offered up a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the first period, for just under the full two minutes but escaped unscathed and then directed their attention to the scoreboard. Dominic Turgeon opened the scoring by being in the right place at the right time with a great feed from Alex Schoenborn midway through the first period. Less than four minutes later, Colton Veloso, who had a strong game the night before, found his way with a rocket past Evan Sarthou to give the Hawks a two-goal lead. Not quite midway into the second period, Portland would score on a funny play as a result of a Tri-City player being checked into the boards. Tri-City coughed up the puck in the slot and Jack Dougherty would fire a wrist shot past Sarthou to put Portland up by three. Tri- City would put one on the board towards the end of the second period to break the shutout string of Adin Hill, but it would bt the third period where Portland would somewhat fall on its heels. Tri-City scored early in the third and just before the midway point, tied the game.

It was a tripping penalty by Tri-City that allowed Portland its only power play of the game and the Hawks took full advantage. Caleb Jones with his second goal of the season, broke the tie and gave Portland some momentum. Alex Schoenborn would add another four minutes later and despite Tri-City scoring in the last four minutes of the game, were unable to tie the score and Portland had won their second straight game. Portland was a perfect 1 for 1 on the power play and stopped all four of the Tri-City attempts.

The Hawks then had to come home to their biggest test against a rested visiting opponent. The Brandon Wheat Kings, who had just one loss coming into the game against Portland, eyed a big time beating after last season where they humiliated Portland 10-3 in Manitoba. With a tired Hawks team in their sights, this shouldn't have been a competitive contest. Tell that to the young guns of Portland who had other ideas and a bit of revenge on their minds. 

Portland started off well by scoring first with Dominic Turgeon scoring his sixth goal of the year and third in three nights while Portland was on the power play. However, Brandon was on a shooting spree, peppering Adin Hill with 34 shots in the first two periods. Alex Schoenborn would add to the Portland lead midway through the second period as Portland weathered a huge storm of penalty kills. The third period was the only one where Portland outshot Brandon and goals by Rodrigo Abols, Dominic Turgeon's second while on the power play and a strange goal by Skyler McKenzie sealed the deal for Portland. McKenzie scored as the Brandon goaltender Jordan Papirny covered the outside post but too tightly and the puck skirted around his skates and around the other side and into the net. With that goal, Papirny was replaced by backup Logan Thompson who rarely faced a shot in the remaining minutes. 

Portland once again shut out the opposition on the penalty kill and was a perfect 2 for 2 on the power play.  The Winterhawks are now off for a couple days with games against Tri-City on Wednesday and then a home and home series with Everett. The wins for Portland leave them still below a .500 record after 11 games, but good enough for third in the US Division behind Seattle and tied with Everett though Everett has games in hand.

Ice Chips: The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club is closing in on having a second bus traveling on the Central Swing in February. Just 15 more people are needed to ensure the second bus is a go. Details are online http://www.pwhbc.com/fantrips.html

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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