Spell it Sven Bartschi and you have the Portland Winterhawks most valuable player.
Spell it Sven Baertschi and you have one of the top prospects for the Calgary Flames, a player who scored three goals in a recent emergency call up to the National Hockey League.
That experience seems to have made the Swiss forward even more dangerous. Bartschi has assists on five of Portland’s 10 goals as the Winterhawks jumped to a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 series with the Kelowna Rockets.
The series continues with Game 3 today and Game 4 on Thursday in Kelowna.
“It was way faster up (in the NHL),” Bartschi said. “I had to get used to it. As soon as I got back here, everything is so much slower, We’ve got more time to make decisions out there, You can hold onto the puck a little longer.”
Bartschi’s work with the puck is a big reason Ty Rattie has four goals through two games. He has been strong with the puck on his stick, and persistent in working to get possession away from Kelowna players.
As for the spelling of his name, Bartschi said it Is correct either way. On his Winterhawks’ jersey, the “a” has two dots above it which is the same is “ae” on his Flames’ jersey.
Bartschi certainly isn’t doing it by himself. Portland’s depth has kept pressure on Kelowna for significant stretches of the first two games.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, the whole team is,” Bartschi said.
It’s also playing with better composure than Kelowna, which is to be expected of the more experienced team in this series.
“Our team is really good about that stuff,” said Bartschi, who was cited once for a roughing penalty for retaliating during Game 2.
“We don’t let other guys get us off our game,” Bartschi said. “We’re going to keep moving forward and not worry about extra stuff that happens out there.”
• Kelowna is likely to be without forward Brett Bulmer today. Bulmer was penalized three times for kneeing in Game 2 and assessed a game-misconduct after the third infraction. As of Monday, the league had not announced the length of Bulmer’s suspension.
• Portland will be without second-line center Oliver Gabriel for Game 3. The WHL on Monday handed down a one-game suspension to Gabriel for his game misconduct penalty early in the second period of Game 2.
• Fans can watch the games in Kelowna at viewing parties at three venues in Portland, including an all-ages event at Kenton Station, 8303 N. Denver Ave.