Junior hockey notebook: Winterhawks, Everett spar atop WHL

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Portland Winterhawks

This week: 6 p.m. Friday at Edmonton; 6 p.m. Saturday at Red Deer; 3 p.m. Sunday at Calgary; 7:35 p.m. Dec. 13 at Seattle.

Last week: Beat Spokane 6-3; beat Saskatoon 6-5; beat Everett 6-3.

Where they stand: At 21-5-2-1, the Winterhawks have a Western Hockey League best 45 points and are one point in front of Everett in the highly-competitive U.S. Division. Their winning percentage (.776) ranks second in the Western Hockey League behind Kelowna (.840), which has 42 points but has played four fewer games than Portland. Portland is fifth in this week's top-10 for all three CHL junior hockey leagues.

Subway Super Series: The Winterhawks' Nic Petan, Taylor Leier, Brendan Leipsic and Derrick Pouliot played for the Western Hockey League team in the Subway Super Series on Wednesday in Red Deer and on Thursday in Lethbridge. The series is part of a six-game swing through Canada for the Russian junior national team.

Busy weekend in Alberta: In a span of 48 hours beginning at Portland visits Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary. The game in Edmonton is a rematch of the last two WHL championship series. The game at Calgary is against a Hitmen team coached by former Winterhawks player and coach Mike Williamson. Calgary has the third best record in the Eastern Conference.

Topping the 'Tips: Six different players scored goals, and Portland scored five consecutive goals in Tuesday's win at Everett that pushed Portland to the top of the U.S. Division.

Super Series: Winterhawks played a key role in team WHL's 4-2 win over Team Russia on Nov. 28 in Lethbridge. Pouliot scored the tying goal with an assist from Brendan Leipsic, and Pouliot assisted on the go-ahead goal. The win gave the Canadian Hockey League a 10-8 edge in points for the six-game series. In a 3-2 loss the night before at Red Deer, Taylor Leier had a shorthanded goal and an assist.

Petan stars in wild win: Nic Petan scored four consecutive Winterhawks goals in a wild 6-5 win over Saskatoon on Sunday. The visiting Blades took a 4-1 lead before Petan scored three in a row to tie the score. Saskatoon took a 5-4 lead early in the third period, but Petan scored again to tie it and Oliver Bjorkstrand's second goal of the game won it for Portland. Petan also had an assist for a five-point night, and Brendan Leipsic had five assists. The Winterhawks outshot the Blades 53-16 in the game.

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: Idle. Next games are Dec. 13 and 14 at home against Bellingham, which is 16-5 and second behind 16-1 West Sound in the Northern Pacific Hockey League standings.

Last week: Lost twice to Eugene 6-1 and 8-2.

Where they stand: At 0-17, the Vipers are last in the five-team NPHL.

Scoring drought ends: After going seven consecutive games without scoring a goal, the Vipers scored three against Eugene last weekend -- all on the power play. An unassisted goal by Nathan Decker with 4:59 left in Friday's home game ended the streak of zeroes. On Saturday in Eugene, Sam Rosenberg scored a goal and had an assist. Decker and Tim Swanson) also has assists.