Junior hockey report: Winterhawks square off with Kelowna

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

This week: Visit Kelowna for two games, at 7:05 p.m. on Friday (live on Root Sports), and on Saturday; visit Vancouver (B.C.), 2 p.m. on Monday; host Tri-City on Feb. 15 (live on Root Sports).

Last week: Won 5-3 at Seattle, won 4-0 over Spokane, lost to Calgary 4-3.

Where they stand: At 43-8-1-2, the Winterhawks have the Western Hockey League's best record and 89 points from 53 games. Kelowna (84 points in 55 games) and Edmonton (83 points in 55 games) have the next-best marks. Portland is 24 points up on second-place Tri-City in the U.S. Division.

Winterhawks ranked No. 1: For the second week in a row, Portland is the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League top-10. Announced each Wednesday, the top-10 is selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Petan is player of month: Winterhawks forward Nic Petan was named the WHL player of the month for January. He had points in 12 of the team's 13 January games, with nine goals and 17 assists adding up to a league-leading 26 points in January. He also had a plus-11 rating.

Petan is the second Winterhawk to earn the award this season, after Brendan Leipsic took home the honor for November.

Top line leads the way: Petan continues to lead the WHL with 94 points (36 goals, 58 assists). Leipsic is second in the WHL with 92 points (37 goals, 55 assists). Ty Rattie is fourth in WHL scoring with 75 points (30 goals, 45 assists). Rattie has played in only 45 games, the fewest among any of the league's top scorers.

Tough loss: On Wednesday, the Winterhawks led Calgary 3-1 after two periods but lost 4-3. The Hitman, coached by former Winterhawks player and coach Mike Williamson, scored the winning goal with 1:32 left on an odd-man rush. Portland outshot Calgary 45-30, including 19-15 in the third period.

Showdown in Kelowna: Friday and Saturday games at Kelowna feature the top two teams in the Western Conference. Friday's game can be seen live at 7 p.m. on Root Sports. Kelowna has won 23 consecutive home games. Portland is 20-3-1-1 on the road. The teams split on-goal games on Sept. 28-29 in Portland.

Vancouver Vipers

This week: The Vipers play a home and home with West Sound, visiting Bremerton at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, then hosting the Warriors at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday at Mountain View Ice Arena.

Last week: Lost 4-2 to visiting Eugene, lost 7-1 at Eugene. Jalen Twigg scored both goals in the home loss, which drew more than 200 fans to Mountain View Ice Arena according to Vipers and MVIA manager Bob Knoerl.

Where they stand: At 2-31, Vancouver is last in the six-team Northern Pacific Hockey League. The Vipers have been eliminated from playoff contention. This week's opponent, West Sound, leads the league at 26-6.

Roster deadline Friday: Friday is the last day NORPAC teams can add players for this season.

Vipers add two: Forward Jonathan Walker and defenseman Adam Dalton, both 19, will join the Vipers this weekend. They were with the Glacier Nationals, where Walker played in 14 games this season and Dalton in 16.Three home games remain: The Vipers play home games at Mountain View Ice Arena on each of the next three Saturdays. Tickets cost $5, $3 for students with school IDs.

Miscellaneous

Trevor Cheek update: Vancouver resident Trevor Cheek scored a goal on Feb. 2 at Moose Jaw, his seventh in 14 games since joining the Edmonton Oil Kings. He has 25 goals and 20 assists this season. In 14 games for Edmonton since a trade from the Vancouver Giants, Cheek has a plus-12 rating.

Free hockey clinic: On Saturday, Feb. 16, Mountain View Ice Arena will hold a free clinic for kids who want to try ice hockey. The event is 8:30-9:30 a.m., and is part of USA Hockey's annual Hockey Weekend Across America promotion. For details, call the rink at 360-896-8700.