Junior hockey: Matchup with Edmonton awaits Winterhawks

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

This week: Visit Prince George at 7 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday; visit Tri-City at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday; host Edmonton at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Last week: Lost to Tri-City 6-2, beat Vancouver 4-3 in overtime, beat Spokane 8-3, won 3-0 at Kamloops.

Where they stand: At 49-9-1-2, the Winterhawks have the Western Hockey League's best record and 101 points from 61 games. Edmonton (91 points in 61 games) and Kelowna (88 points in 61 games) and have the next-best marks.

Showdown looming: Edmonton, which leads the Eastern Conference, visits Portland on Wednesday for a rematch of last season's WHL Championship series that the Oil Kings won in seven games.

Trevor Cheek returns: The Wednesday visit by Edmonton will mark the second time this season that Vancouver native Trevor Cheek has played in Portland. On Nov. 21, he played a game at the Rose Garden while with the Vancouver Giants. In 20 games with Edmonton, Cheek has eight goals and eight assists, giving the 20-year-old 26 goals and 23 assists in 60 games overall this season.

Division title clinched: Portland has clinched the U.S. Division title.

Road record-setters: With one more win away from Portland, the Winterhawks will establish a new franchise record for road wins in a season. The Hawks are 24-3-1-1 on the road this season for a franchise record 50 points. The previous record for points earned in road games was 49 two years ago and in 1980-81.

Winterhawks still ranked No. 1: Portland remains the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League top-10. The Halifax Mooseheads (46-6-2-1) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are ranked second. Announced each Wednesday, the top-10 is selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts. Edmonton (third), Kelowna (sixth) and Kamloops (seventh) are WHL clubs also in the top 10.

Another shutout for Carruth: With Wednesday's 3-0 win at Kamloops, Mac Carruth posted his seventh shutout of the season and the 11th regular-season shutout of his career, extending his team records. It was also Portland's 12th shutout of the season, another franchise record.

Points pile up: Brendan Leipsic (105 points) and Nic Petan (102) continue to lead the WHL in scoring. Linemate Ty Rattie remains fourth in the league with 88 points.

Vancouver Vipers

This week: The Vipers host Bellingham at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday at Mountain View Ice Arena.

Last week: Lost 8-3 at Tri-City, lost 6-5 at home to Tri-City.

Where they stand: At 2-35, Vancouver is last in the six-team Northern Pacific Hockey League. The Vipers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Last home game: On Saturday, the Vipers play their final home game of the season at Mountain View Ice Arena, hosting Bellingham. Bellingham (19-15-1-1) is the last team the Vipers beat, back on Nov. 2. Tickets cost $5, $3 for students with school IDs.