Junior hockey report: Burke earns CHL goalie of week honor

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



Portland Winterhawks

This week: 7:05 p.m. Friday at Tri-City; 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Everett (Memorial Coliseum); 2 p.m. Monday at Prince George; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Prince George; 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at Kamloops. Prince George is ninth and Kamloops is 10th in the Western Conference.

Last week: Beat Spokane 6-0; beat Seattle 3-0.

Where they stand: At 36-12-2-3, the Winterhawks have 77 points. They lead by four points over Seattle in the U.S. Division, and the Thunderbirds have played two more games. Kelowna owns the best record in the league (43-7-0-3, 89 points). Edmonton, winner of nine straight, has surged to the top of the Eastern Conference and now has a better winning percentage than Portland’s. Portland is fifth in this week’s top-10 for all three CHL junior hockey leagues as voted by NHL scouts. Kelowna remains No. 1 in that poll and Edmonton is No. 6. Edmonton visits Kelowna on Friday.

Ten in a row: For the second time this season, the Winterhawks have put together a string of 10 consecutive wins. Over that stretch they have outscored their opponents 53-13. Portland also won 10 consecutive games in October.

Burke blanks two: Goalie Brendan Burke earned consecutive shutouts on Friday against Spokane and Saturday against Spokane. He faced a combined 48 shots in the two games. The shutouts earned Burke the Canadian Hockey League goalie of the week award. Burke has three shutouts this season and seven in 94 career regular-season games.

Defense shines: In addition to Burke’s netminding, the Winterhawks defense has found its stride. Portland has shut out three of its last eight opponents and not allowed more than two goals in any game over that span. Defenseman Derrick Pouliot has points in the last eight games with three goals and 12 assists. His 50 points is third among defensemen in the league.

Offense continues to set pace: Portland’s 239 goals continue to lead the Western Hockey League. Kelowna is second in scoring with 231 goals. Nic Petan (86 points) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (76) continue to be second and third in the WHL in points behind Mitch Holmberg of Spokane (92 points).

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:35 p.m. on Saturday vs. West Sound of Bremerton (Mountain View Ice Arena).

Last week: Lost at Eugene 10-2 on Tuesday.

Where they stand: At 0-35, the Vipers are last in the five-team NPHL. Bellingham (25-5) and West Sound (22-2-1-2) are the only teams with winning records.

Five games left: The Vipers play their remaining five games at Mountain View Ice Arena. Four of the games are against West Sound (26-4-1-2) and one is against Bellingham (31-5).