Junior hockey report: Winterhawks on verge of division title

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

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

Last week: Beat Kamloops 4-2; beat Prince Albert 6-3; beat Everett 2-1 (shootout).

Where they stand: At 46-12-2-3, the Winterhawks have 97 points. With nine regular-season games remaining, the Winterhawks lead by 15 points over Seattle in the U.S. Division. Portland will clinch the division title with four more points.

Race to the top: The Winterhawks trail Kelowna (50-9-0-4, 104 points) by seven points in the race for the best record in the WHL. The teams do not meet again in the regular season. Portland is again third 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, Edmonton is No. 7 and Victoria is No. 9.

Win streak approaches another record: With their shootout win at Everett on Sunday, the Winterhawks extended their club-record winning streak to 20 games, which adds up to more than one quarter of their whole schedule. The all-time WHL record for consecutive wins in one season is 22 by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins. The Winterhawks haven't lost since a shootout defeat in Victoria on Jan. 10, and haven't lost in regulation since Jan. 4.

Boes standing tall: Veteran goalie Corbin Boes has played seven consecutive games filling in for Brendan Burke, who is sidelined by illness. Boes, 20, has given up two or fewer goals in three of his last four games. On Jan. 20, Boes' first game with Portland was a shootout loss. He is on a personal 11-game win streak. In his 12 games with Portland his goals-against average is 2.53 and his save percentage is .908.

Another 300-goal season: With their next goal, the Winterhawks will hit the 300-goal mark for the fourth season in a row, the first time since the 1989-90 season that the team posted at least four consecutive 300-goal seasons. The 1989-90 season was the last of 14 straight seasons hitting the mark.

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: Season is over.

Last week: Lost 4-0 to West Sound; lost 16-4 to West Sound.Lost season: The Vipers were winless in their 40 games this season. Their closest losses were by three goals four times. The Vipers were outscored 340-42. Over the last two seasons, Vancouver is 2-78 and has lost 70 consecutive games dating to a 6-5 win over Bellingham on Nov. 2, 2012.

Try hockey for free

A free hockey clinic for boys and girls ages 4-9 will be held at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday at Mountain View Ice Arena in Vancouver. To register for this hour-long clinic, or to learn more, call Jason Hirt at 360-896-8700 or visit www.TryHockeyForFree.com.