Junior hockey report: Winterhawks enjoy home ice down stretch

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Winterhawks

This week: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Seattle (Moda Center); 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Vancouver (Moda Center); 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Tri-City (Veterans Memorial Coliseum); 7:35 p.m. March 14 at Seattle.

Last week: Beat Spokane 2-0, lost at Seattle 4-1, beat Tri-City 5-1.

Hawks on TV: Today's game against Seattle at the Moda Center will be shown live on ROOT Sports.

Where they stand: At 48-13-2-3, the Winterhawks have 101 points. They have clinched their second consecutive U.S. Division title and third in four seasons. It is the fourth consecutive year Portland accumulated at least 100 points, a franchise record.

Race to the top: Portland trails Kelowna (53-10-0-4, 110 points) by nine points in the race for the best record in the WHL. Portland has six games left, Kelowna has five. 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, Victoria is No. 8 and Calgary is No. 10. Edmonton also received votes.

Win streak ends: A 4-1 loss at Seattle on Saturday ended a string of 21 consecutive wins for Portland, one shy of the WHL record of 22 wins in one regular season.

Playoff race: Seven of the eight Western Conference playoff teams are set. Tri-City leads Prince George by four points for the final playoff spot and the Americans have two more games to play than do the Cougars. Saturday's visit to the Moda Center by the Vancouver Giants is probably a preview of a first-round playoff match-up. The Giants are likely to finish seventh in the conference and the Winterhawks are likely to finish second behind Kelowna.

Points race: Portland's Nic Petan is tied with Spokane's Mitch Holmberg for the league scoring lead with 107 points. Both players' teams have six games remaining. Holmberg has played in all 66 Chiefs' games and has 57 goals and 50 assists. Petan has played 57 games and has 34 goals and 73 assists. Petan and teammate Brendan Leipsic tied for the WHL scoring title in 2013 with 120 points apiece.

Weekend promotions: On Friday, the Winterhawks are sold out for their popular mascot night promotion, with team mascots from around the region entertaining fans. On Saturday, the team will recognize the a century of ice hockey in Portland. The Winterhawks will wear special jerseys and will raise a special banner listing all of Portland's hockey championships.

Through April 1, a special exhibit at the Oregon History Center in downtown Portland includes artifacts from 100 years of hockey in Portland.

Home stretch: The Winterhawks play five of their last six regular-season games at home, with three games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum after playing today and Saturday at the Moda Center.

Northern Pacific Hockey League

NPHL finals: In the league where the Fort Vancouver Vipers finished 0-40 this season, Bellingham and West Sound of Bremerton will decide the Northern Pacific Hockey League championship this weekend. The best-of-5 series is tied 1-1 with games scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.