Weekly junior hockey report 12/14

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



Portland Winterhawks

This week: Host Everett at 7 p.m. Friday in the Rose Garden, host Seattle at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Garden (sold out), visit Everett at 5:05 p.m. Sunday, visit Spokane at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Last week: Lost to Tri-City 3-2, beat Seattle 6-2, beat Tri-City 4-1.

Where they stand: At 25-5-1-0, the Winterhawks have the Western Hockey League’s best winning percentage (.823) and 51 points from 31 games. They are in first place in the U.S. Division, six points up on Spokane. In the Canadian Hockey League top-10, Portland is ranked third behind top-rated Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Unlikely loss: In last Friday’s 3-2 loss to Tri-City, the Winterhawks outshot the 46-13. But Tri-City turned a 5-on-3 power play into a 3-0 lead at the end of the second period and held on. Portland has won 21 of its last 23 games.

Big weekend: Friday’s home game against Everett is a Fred Meyer Ham Shoot night for women 18 and older, who can go on the ice after the game to shoot for the chance to win a free ham. Saturday’s teddy bear toss game is sold out. These are the final home games until Dec. 29 and Dec 31 — after the WHL’s holiday break.

Junior Worlds: Ty Rattie and Tyler Wotherspoon have been selected to play for Canada’s National Junior Team in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia. Canada’s team goes to Europe on Dec. 15, and play in two pre-competition games in Helsinki, Finland. Derrick Pouliot, who also attended the tryout camp, has returned to the Winterhawks.

Beginning on Sunday in Tarrytown, N.Y., Seth Jones will begin training with the United States National Junior Team in advance of the World Juniors. An additional camp will follow in Helsinki before the tournament starts. After the world Juniors, Jones will captain Team Orr for the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 16 in Halifax.

“It’s obviously an exciting time,” Jones said of his upcoming travels. “I’m going to enjoy it, then come back after it’s over and keep being consistent and finish out the season strong.”

A projected high pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jones has two goals and 12 assists during his current nine-game point streak.

“I feel pretty good with the way I’m playing,” Jones said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my teammates. Sometimes I’ll get an assist that if (a teammate) didn’t make a play the goal wouldn’t be scored, so a streak has a lot to do with your teammates and the people you play with.”

Fellow Winterhawks Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan were named this week to join Jones on Team Orr for the prospects game.

More World Juniors participation: Bjorkstrand (Denmark) and Layne Viveiros (Austria) are currently playing in Division I of the World Junior Championship for countries that did not qualify for the main tournament.

Vancouver Vipers

This week: Visit Bellingham for 7:30 games on Friday and Saturday, visit West Sound at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Last week: Lost twice to visiting Glacier Nationals, 4-0 and 5-0.

Where they stand: At 2-14, Vancouver is last in the six-team Northern Pacific Hockey League.

More help coming? The Vipers have struggled to fill their 25-player roster, mostly because the franchise wasn’t awarded to Vancouver until many junior hockey teams had formed their rosters. Chuck Cheshire, the team’s volunteer player personnel manager, said he is optimistic the team will add five players after the holiday break. If that happens, the Vipers will have more than 20 players rostered for the first time this season. Teams are allowed to have as many as 25 players.

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