It was a moment Jason Trott has waited all season for.
In Tuesday’s Western Hockey League game against Tri-City, the Portland Winterhawks forward found himself in the lineup alongside Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter.
And when Niederreiter created a scoring chance, Trott was on the spot for his first career WHL goal.
“It felt really good,” Trott said. “It was definitely an honor playing with Ryan and Nino. It made things a lot easier getting chances like that.”
An 18-year-old rookie who played Junior B hockey the previous two seasons, Trott was told when he made the Winterhawks that his role would be to provide depth and to push teammates in practice.
Tuesday’s contest was just the 10th time he has seen game action. With four players at a prospects camp, and four others injured, Trott found himself on a top line.
“The guys who stepped in the other night — Trott, (Seth) Swenson and (Josh) Hansen — I thought all those guys played particularly well the other night,” Portland coach Mike Johnston said.
Johnston said Trott, a hard-working, physical forward, has given the team exactly what was expected of him — great effort in practice.
“He has a great attitude. He waited for his opportunity and played well at Christmas when he got a chance, and got to play an even bigger role in the last game,” Johnston said. “He’s going to be a good depth guy for us, a guy who can be inserted anywhere in the lineup, who plays with energy.”
Trott said the highlight of his season was just making the team.
“All these guys, they’re great hockey players, and being around the (rink) with them is an honor,” Trott said.
Trott might see more ice time if injuries continue to occur. Riley Boychuk and Oliver Gabrel practiced Thursday after missing Tuesday’s game. Both are day to day, Johnston said.
The status of team captain Brett Ponich, who “tweaked” a knee in Tuesday’s game, was uncertain as of Thursday afternoon. The defenseman was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday, Johnston said.
Tayler Jordan had hernia surgery two weeks ago and will likely miss a couple more weeks.
• Saturday’s home game against Seattle at Memorial Coliseum will start at 2 p.m. to avoid conflicting with the Trail Blazers game Saturday night at the Rose Garden.
• The Winterhawks Booster Club is organizing a British Columbia bus trip March 5-7 to road games at Vancouver and Chilliwack. More information is available at the booster club’s table in the concourse at games.
A lift for River City
Vancouver’s Tier III Junior A team celebrated a nice victory Sunday, beating the Seattle Totems for the first time this season, 3-2.
Seattle is back at Mountain View Ice Arena for games at 7:55 tonight and 6:40 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” Jaguars coach Ross Gale said.
Gale said a change in the team’s attack strategy helped in Sunday’s win, along with a strong effort from goalie Will Rauchenstein, who made 47 saves.
Jaguars general manager Chuck Cheshire has been building for the future.
In recent moves, the Jaguars traded 20-year-old Brandon Burlingame to Southern Oregon for 18-year-old defenseman Kevin Wondzell, sent forward Alex Sulitzer to Seattle for cash, and signed Elijah Bordak, a 15-year-old forward from Vancouver.
Elijah Bordak joins his brothers Joe, 17, and Avik, 16, who are two of the Jags’ top scorers. Elijah has been playing with a Portland Junior Hawks under-17 AA team.
Gale said he hasn’t decided whether Elijah will play on the same line with his older brothers.
Gale said he believes the trades will improve his team both now and in the future. The Jags will retain the Northern Pacific Hockey League rights to any returning player who has played at least 10 games this season with the team.