Junior hockey notebook 11/1

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



Portland Winterhawks

This week: 7:35 p.m. today at Seattle; 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Spokane; 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Tri-City (Moda Center).

Last week: beat Kootenay 6-3, beat Spokane 4-3, beat Brandon 5-2.

Where they stand: At 12-3-0-1, the Winterhawks have 25 points, most in the Western Hockey League. Portland enters the weekend one point ahead of Seattle.

Win streak at nine: The Winterhawks won their ninth game in a row on Wednesday, defeating Brandon 5-2. Coach Mike Johnston said cutting down on scoring chances for opponents has been one key to the recent success, a sign that the new defensemen are growing into their roles. Having Brendan Leipsic, Keegan Iverson, Paul Bittner and Dominic Turgeon, all of whom missed time early in the season, has bolstered the attack according to Johnston.

Road to success: Johnston has always preferred the Winterhawks make their Eastern Conference road swing early in the season. He said he would prefer to do all six games on one trip, as in recent seasons, but that the WHL schedule has Portland making two visits to Alberta. The early road trips provide a bonding experience and also a competitive challenge traveling between multiple games, Johnston said. The second Eastern swing is Dec. 6-8 at Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary.

Scoring streaks: Oliver Bjorkstrand (18) and Brendan Leipsic (16) have points in 10 consecutive games. Nic Petan (19) has at least a point in nine consecutive games. Chase De Leo (10) has points in seven consecutive games.

High-scoring Hawks: Portland’s 82 goals lead the Western Hockey League, and are 18 more than second-best Seattle’s 64 through 16 games.

Strength in the U.S.: Portland (25 points), Seattle (24), Spokane (22) and Everett (22) are all among the top teams in the WHL. And fifth-place Tri-City is 8-8. Spokane (3), Portland (6) and Seattle (9) are all ranked in the Canadian Hockey League top 10, with Everett getting honorable mention this week.

Cancer awareness: Winterhawks players will be growing mustaches during the month of November to raise money and awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. Fans can contribute by donating to mobro.co/winterhawks.

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: 7:35 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday at Tri-Cities (Toyota Arena).

Last week: Lost to West Sound 9-1.

Where they stand: At 0-8, the Vipers are last in the five-team Northern Pacific Hockey League.

Next home games: Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 against Bellingham.

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