Jr. hockey report: Winterhawks helping national squads

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

This week: 7 p.m. Friday at Tri-City; 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Victoria (Memorial Coliseum); 7 p.m. Wednesday at Everett.

Last week: Won 3-2 at Tri-City; beat Tri-City 4-1; lost to Kelowna 9-3; last to Kelowna 7-2.

Where they stand: At 25-10-2-2, the Winterhawks have 54 points. They lead the U.S. Division by three points over Everett. Kelowna owns the best record in the league (32-3-0-2, 66 points). Portland is fifth in this week's top-10 for all three CHL junior hockey leagues as voted by NHL scouts.

Showcase for Kelowna: The Kelowna Rockets are the top-ranked team in all of major junior hockey. The Rockets' only regular-season visit to Portland included games Tuesday and Thursday, and came while the Winterhawks had three of their top players away for the World Juniors Championships, and with Brendan Leipsic in the middle of a seven-game suspension, which continues through this weekend. Kelowna was pretty much at full strength and outscored Portland 16-5, including three shorthanded goals.

World Juniors: Winterhawks defenseman Derrick Pouliot scored a goal on Thursday to help Canada defeat Switzerland 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Juniors Championships in Sweden. Pouliot also has four assists through five games at the tournament. Canada will face Sweden on Saturday in a semifinal (9:30 a.m. on NHL Network). Nic Petan (4 goals, 1 assist) and Taylor Leier and are also on Team Canada, along with defenseman Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, whose WHL rights belong to Portland.

Bjorkstrand's big week: Oliver Bjorkstrand had four goals and two assists to lead Denmark to the IIHF under-20 Division I Group A tournament title and a spot in next year's World Juniors Championships. He also agreed to an entry-level NHL contract with Columbus, which drafted him with the 89th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Petan signs: Nic Petan agreed on Dec. 30 to an NHL entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets, who selected him 43rd in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: 7:35 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday at Bellingham; 7:35 p.m. Tuesday at Eugene.

Last week: Lost twice to Tri-City, 9-3 and 6-0.

Where they stand: At 0-23, the Vipers are last in the five-team NPHL. They have been outscored 199-15.