Jr. hockey report: At full strength, Winterhawks on a roll

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



Portland Winterhawks

This week: 7:05 p.m. Friday vs. Everett (Moda Center); 4 p.m. Sunday at Everett; 7:05 p.m. Wednesday vs. Everett (Memorial Coliseum).

Last week: Beat Moose Jaw 8-2; beat Spokane 5-0; beat Vancouver 5-2.

Where they stand: At 31-12-2-3, the Winterhawks have 67 points. They lead by four points over Seattle in the U.S. Division. Kelowna owns the best record in the Western Hockey League (38-6-0-2, 78 points). Portland is seventh in this week’s top-10 for the three CHL junior hockey leagues, as voted by NHL scouts. Kelowna tops the CHL rankings and Calgary is No. 5.

Pouliot player of the week: Defenseman Derrick Pouliot on Monday was named WHL player of the week for games Jan. 13-19. Pouliot, 19, had one goal and four assists and a plus-5 rating in two games. His 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists in 35 games) are fifth best among WHL defensemen this season.

Back on track: Since getting their top players back from tournaments and suspension, the Winterhawks have six wins and one shootout loss. Brendan Leipsic has 15 points in seven games since his seven-game suspension. Portland’s 211 goals are the most in the WHL, 12 more than the 199 Kelowna has scored (the Rockets have played two fewer games).

Shutout for Burke: Goalie Brenden Burke recorded his first shutout of the season on Sunday, stopping 25 shots in a 5-0 win over Spokane. It was Burke’s fifth WHL shutout.

Dumba makes impact: Defenseman Matt Dumba, who joined the Winterhawks last week from the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, contributed points in each of his first three games. He recorded his first Winterhawks goal in Monday’s 5-2 win over Vancouver. He has three assists and played plus-5 hockey over last weekend.

Saturday appearance: As part of its Toyota Hockey Family Day on Saturday, Winterhawks players Corbin Boes, Josh Hanson and Brendan Leipsic will greet fans at Vancouver Toyota (10455 NE 53rd St.) from 12:45 to 2 p.m. The appearance is part of the team’s Hockey Family of the Year promotion.

Hawks sign future D-man: The Winterhawks have signed 16-year-old defenseman Nick Heid. He is playing this season for the Omaha Lancers AAA 16-and-under team of the North American Prospects Hockey League, where he has five goals and 22 assists for 27 points in 20 games. Heid will join the Winterhawks after his season in Omaha. He can play up to six games for the Hawks this season. Heid is the second Minnesota-born player to recently sign with the Hawks, joining defenseman Blake Heinrich. Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston noted that next season the young defensemen will help replace Pouliot, Dumba and Garrett Harr.

Fort Vancouver Vipers

This week: 7:35 p.m. Friday at Bellingham; 7:35 p.m. Saturday at Bellingham.

Last week: Lost to Eugene 4-1; lost to Tri-Cities 4-1.

Where they stand: At 0-32, the Vipers are last in the five-team NPHL. Bellingham (27-5) leads the Northern Pacific Hockey League.

Quick impact: Anton Kostyuchenko, a 19-year-old from Minsk, Belarus, scored in two of his first three games with the Vipers. He joined the team on Jan. 16 and scored a goal in that 6-2 loss to Eugene.

Remaining games: Seven of the Vipers eight remaining games are against Bellingham and West Sound of Bremerton, the top two teams in the NPHL. After a visit to Eugene on Feb. 4, Fort Vancouver plays its last five games at Mountain View Ice Arena.

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