Junior hockey report, Dec. 16
Friday, December 16, 2011
Where they stand: At 20-11-2-1 (43 points), the Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division behind Tri-City (25-7-0-0, 50 points).
This week: Portland visits Spokane on Saturday before the weeklong holiday break.
Last week: lost 5-3 on Dec. 9 at Vancouver; lost 3-0 on Dec. 12.
Player of the week: Seth Swenson. The 18-year-old forward had an assist and was a plus-1 in Friday’s loss in Vancouver.
Notes and numbers:
• No Winterhawks were selected to Team Canada for the World Juniors Championship tournament. Ty Rattie, Brad Ross and Joe Morrow participated in the tryout camp, which ended on Wednesday.
Sven Bartschi is expected to play for Switzerland in the tournament, which takes place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton.
Johnston said he has mixed emotions about the three Winterhawks not making Team Canada. The plus, he said, is that the players won’t miss the four games (all home) that they would have missed during the tournament.
But playing in such a high profile tournament would have been great experience that might have helped the Winterhawks come playoff time, Johnston noted.
Among the 22 players named to Canada’s National Junior Team six players are from the Western Hockey League: Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants), Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors), Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips), Mark Pysyk (Edmonton Oil Kings), Mark Stone (Brandon Wheat Kings) and Brett Connolly, a product of the Prince George Cougars, on loan to Canada’s National Junior Team from the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
• The Winterhawks are back to the league limit of three overage 20-year-old players. According to general manager and head coach Mike Johnston, Charles Wells informed the Winterhawks on Wednesday that he was returning home to explore other options.
Portland had four 20-year-olds on its roster after Oliver Gabriel was returned to Portland by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Thursday was the deadline for the team to get back down to the league maximum of three overage players.
Wells, who was acquired from Prince Albert in September, had four goals and three assists in 31 games with Portland. He had been splitting time with Dillon Wagner since Gabriel’s return. Wagner is nursing an injury, but should return to the lineup after the holiday break, Johnston said.
• Nic Petan of Portland will play for Team Pacific in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for top 16-year-old prospects. That tournament takes place Dec. 28-Jan. 4 in Ontario.
• Defenseman Derrick Pouliot is one of 10 WHL players selected for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, scheduled for Feb. 1 in Kelowna.
• When the Winterhawks return from their holiday break, they will play five consecutive home games beginning on Dec. 28.
Where they stand: At 11-12-2 (24 points), the Victory are tied for fourth place in the seven-team NORPAC.
This week: Vancouver plays at Seattle on Friday, then hosts the Glacier Nationals for games at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, its first games at Mountain View Ice Arena in a month.
Last week: Vancouver lost twice to Southern Oregon by scores of 9-5 and 8-5.