Jr. hockey notebook: Winterhawks have a long road ahead

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

Published:

 

After hosting Victoria on Monday afternoon, the Portland Winterhawks will have 15 regular-season games left. Only five of those will be at home, and between Feb. 16 and March 11, Portland will play at home only one time.

But Winterhawks coach Jamie Kompon said his team cannot put any extra pressure on the home games Friday and Monday that come before a six-game trip east.

“You don’t want to magnify anything,” Kompon said.

His message to his players, as it has been all season, is to live in the present and to “enjoy the process.”

The Winterhawks have enjoyed overtime so far this season. Portland is 6-2 in games that have gone beyond 60 minutes, including Wednesday’s win at Spokane on a Rodrigo Abols goal with 15 seconds left in the three-on-three overtime. Portland is 4-2 in games decided in overtime and 2-0 in games decided by shootouts.

Kompon said having four mobile defensemen to rotate during the three-on-three overtimes has helped Portland. The coach noted that Caleb Jones, Jack Dougherty, Keoni Texiera and Blake Heinrich “can all skate and they are solid defensively. But they can also create offense for us when the opportunity presents itself.”

Winterhawks

This week: Host Everett, 7 p.m. Friday (VMC); at Seattle, 7:05 p.m. Saturday (TV: CW32, cable ch. 3); host Victoria, 4 p.m. Monday (VMC); at Lethbridge, 6 p.m. on Feb. 19.

Last week: Beat Seattle 2-1; lost to Victoria 3-1; beat Spokane 3-2 in OT.

Where they stand: At 27-26-2-0 (54 points), the Winterhawks are in fourth place in the U.S. Division, two points behind Spokane and five points back of second-place Seattle. The Hawks are currently in the seventh playoff spot, three points ahead of Tri-City.

Time change: Monday’s home game with Victoria has been moved to 4 p.m. to ensure sunlight will not hit the ice, as the curtains will be open at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Iverson sidelined: Forward Keegan Iverson sat out the last two games as a result of an undisclosed injury suffered in the Feb. 5 game against Seattle. Kompon said Iverson’s status is uncertain for this weekend.

Tight finishes: Despite being outscored 6-1 during the third period in its last three games, Portland won twice, beating division rivals Seattle and Spokane. Kompon said he isn’t worried right now about those third periods, adding that he thought the Winterhawks played a strong road game on Wednesday at Spokane even though a 2-0 lead disappeared in the final 10 minutes of the third period.

TV time: The Winterhawks game on Saturday at Seattle will be shown live on KRCW, channel 32 (ch. 3 on Comcast).

Hossa in top 50: Marian Hossa, who helped Portland win the 1998 WHL and Memorial Cup championships, was revealed this week as No. 41 on the WHL list of top-50 all-time players. The league is announcing the list as part of its 50th season. The fan vote and a panel of historians was used to determine the top-50 list.

An 18-year-old in his only season with the Hawks, Hossa had 45 goals and 43 assists in 53 regular-season games in 1997-98. He added 13 goals and six assists in the playoffs and five goals and four assists at the Memorial Cup. A member of the Chicago Blackhawks and three-time Stanley Cup champion, Hossa is in his 17th NHL season.

Vancouver Rangers

This week: Host the Butte Cobras at 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Mountain View Ice Arena.

Last week: Idle.

Where they stand: At 25-13-0-3 (53 points), the Rangers are seven points behind the second-place Missoula Maulers in the Northwest Division of the Western States Hockey League, and 10 points behind the first-place Idaho Junior Steelheads. The Rangers are one point ahead of fourth-place Southern Oregon.

Roster additions: The Rangers this week added forwards Elijah Bordak and Ayrton Chapman and defenseman Matteo Toneatto to their roster. Toneatto, 17, is from France and has played for the French under-18 national team. Rangers coach Dave Daniello coached Toneatto in showcase tournaments last spring. Daniello said the a 6-foot-3, 170-pounder will improve the Rangers presence defending in front of their own net.

Chapman, 18, was with the Rangers earlier in the season and has been playing with the Banff Hockey Academy where he had 25 points in his last 23 games.

Bordak, 20, is from Vancouver. Out of hockey this season, he has been practicing with the Rangers for several weeks.

Daniello said both are skilled forwards who should improve the Rangers forecheck.