Weekly junior hockey report, Jan. 4

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

This week: Host Everett, 7 p.m. Saturday (Rose Garden); host Prince George, 7 p.m. Tuesday and 7 p.m. Wednesday (both at Veterans Memorial Coliseum); host Spokane, 7 p.m. Jan. 11 (Rose Garden).

Last week: Won 4-3 at Tri-City, beat Tri-City 4-3, beat Seattle 5-0.

Where they stand: At 32-5-1-0, the Winterhawks have the Western Hockey League's best record and 65 points from 38 games. Kamloops (56 points from 40 games) has the league's second-best record. Portland is in first place in the U.S. Division, 16 points up on second-place 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.

World Juniors: Ty Rattie scored a goal, but Seth Jones and his United States teammates beat Canada 5-1 on Thursday in the semifinals of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships at Ufa, Russia. The United States will play Sweden for the gold medal at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday. Canada will face Russia for the bronze medal at 1 a.m. PDT Saturday. Both games will be shown live on the NHL Network (Comcast cable 418/730). Jones had four assists in Wednesday's 7-0 quarterfinal win for Team USA over the Czech Republic. He has one goal and six assists through six games. Rattie has three goals in Canada's five games, and Winterhawks defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon has a goal and an assist through five games for Canada.

Pouliot injury: Defenseman Derrick Pouliot has missed three games with what Winterhawks interim head coach Travis Green called a lower-body injury. On Thursday Green said Pouliot is improving, but might not be able to play on Saturday. Pouliot was injured in the team's final game before the holiday break, a win at Spokane.

Win streak at nine: Despite playing without several key players, the Winterhawks have won nine consecutive games, including back-to-back 4-3 wins over Tri-City. Paul Bittner helped pick up the slack with two goals and an assist in the Dec. 29 win over the Americans, the first three-point game for the rookie. Bittner also had a goal in the New Year's Eve win over Seattle.

"It's been nice for some of these guys who have not played as much at the beginning of the season to get a chance," Green said. By playing well now, those younger players will gain valuable confidence and push more established players to continue to work hard to earn ice time, Green said.

Carruth reaches milestone: With his next win in goal, Mac Carruth will become the all-time leader in wins by a Portland Winterhawks goalie. His shutout win over Seattle on New Year's Eve was his 105th, tying Darrell May, Sr., for the franchise record.

Tickets available: Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Winterhawks' final nine home games in February and March. Visit Winterhawks.com, or call 503-236-4295 for details.

Vancouver Vipers

This week: Host league-leading West Sound at 7:35 p.m. Friday at Mountain View Ice Arena; visit West Sound at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday; visit Tri-Cities at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Last week: Lost 6-1 to Tri-Cities, lost 7-2 at Eugene.

Where they stand: At 2-21, Vancouver is last in the six-team Northern Pacific Hockey League.

Roster additions: Cy Jensen, a 16-year-old acquired from Southern Oregon, scored both Viper goals in the Dec. 31 loss at Eugene. Ronnie Schwartz, a 19-year-old goalie from Ohio who was acquired from Eugene, has played two games in goal for the Vipers. The team is awaiting clearance from Canadian hockey officials to add brothers Trey Twigg and Jalen Twigg from Alberta. Trey Twigg is a 19-year-old defenseman. Jalen Twigg is an 18-year-old forward. Vipers owner Bob Knoerl said the team is still actively looking to add to its roster, which still has fewer than 20 players.

Tickets: Vipers tickets cost $5, $3 for students with school IDs.