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WHL US Division: Portland Winterhawks struggle early, but showing signs of life!

The Winterhawks are beginning to find their footing.

Adin hill demostrates flexibility
Adin hill demostrates flexibility
Jimmy Budinski

The Portland Winterhawks started out their season with injuries, missing players, and three straight losses. As they continue to work on finding what type of team this new group is, they continue to show promise, poise, and sense of toughness. There is no quit in this team and eventually, they will start winning some games in bunches.

adinhill1

Photo by Jimmy Budinski

Spokane Chiefs 0, Portland Winterhawks 5

Portland ended their three game losing skid with a shutout performance displayed by Winterhawk's goaltender Adin Hill. With a dominating performance by the Portland back line, Hill just faced 23 shots total. The forwards of the Winterhawks applied constant pressure on the Chief's defense and made it difficult for Spokane to operate outside their own zone. Netting goals for Portland were #7 Paul Bittner, #8 Cody Glass, #13 Keegan Iverson, #18 Rodrigo Albos (first goal of his WHL career), and #22 Alex Schoenborn.

Albos and Schoenborn also assisted on 2 other goals for a total of 3 points each on the night. Although Spokane found themselves on the Power Play 5 times, they could not get any of their shots past the 6'4", 190lbs goaltender for Portland. This was the Winterhawk's first victory on the year and first against their division rivals to the northeast. It will be a long while until their next meeting. Portland will travel to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena for back to back games on December 18th and December 19th.

Seattle Thunderbirds 3, Portland Winterhawks 2

One of the greatest rivalries in the WHL matched up in Portland for a hard fought game. Going into the third period, both sides had two goals, all of which were scored on the power play, but Seattle had the momentum. Back and forth they went until #16 Alexander True, of the Thunderbirds, tallied the only goal in the third at the 13:40 mark. Portland could not apply pressure, as they were only able to fire 5 shots on the Seattle stopper #31 Logan Flodell during the final frame.

The Winterhawk Captain, #23 Dominic Turgeon, scored his first goal of the young season and #13 Keegan Iverson scored a goal and assisted on Turgeon's goal to get two points for the night.  Although #31 Adin Hill for the Hawks allowed 3 goals, he did stop 31 shots of the 34 and looked good considering the constant pressure by the stout Thunderbird offense. These two teams will not see each other again until November 21st where Portland will travel to the ShoWare Center in Kent.

Prince Albert Raiders 4, Portland Winterhawks 0

Although the Winterhawks looked solid in their two previous games, the Prince Albert Raiders were on a different level.  The Raiders blanked Portland even though their goaltender, #30 Rylan Parenteau, faced 36 shots. Parenteau stood on his head and continued to frustrate the Winterhawk squad with every shot he faced.

#26 Dylan Stewart of the Raiders, scored two goals which was more than enough to beat the discouraged Portland squad. #6 Vojtech Budik and #16 Tim Vanstone added the other two goals for Prince Albert one of which was on the power play. This was the one and only meeting between these two teams.

Everett Silvertips 1, Portland Winterhawks 5

Everett and Portland met for the second time in five games. Everett took the first game in Portland 3-1, but Portland demanded a victory in their second meeting.  This win was Portland's second win on the season, both scoring five goals in each game.  Portland started out the game with a #7 Paul Bittner goal 5:29 into the first period. It was amazing that this was the only goal in the first period for the highly motivated Hawks as they fired off 19 shots at Everett's net minder #70 Carter Hart. Portland continued their barrage of target practice as they tallied two more goals off of 15 more shots in the second period, one of which was on the power play.

#25 Evan Weinger and rookie #5 Jack Dougherty get the hugs and cheers for their contributions on the score sheet. These two goals were scored after #8 Patrick Bajkov tied the game up for the Silvertips.  Hawks scored 4 unanswered goals to complete the victory and sent 46 shots total at the Everett back stopper in front of a ruckus Portland crowd of 4,586. Portland evened the series between these two divisional rivals. Their next matchup will be this Friday, October 23rd at the XFINITY Arena in Everett.

Portland Winterhawks 2, Tri-City Americans 4

Portland and Tri-City met for the first time out of ten total meetings on the year and it was the Americans who took game one.  In a penalty filled battle, it was pretty evenly matched with both teams scoring goals in the first period. Portland took the lead on a #22 Alex Schoenborn goal just 3:01 into the second frame however; that was all that the Winterhawks would get as Tri-City took control of the game from there. The Americans scored three unanswered goals by #15 Michael Rasmussen, rookie #19 Tyler Sandhu, and #39 Parker Bowles.

There were a total of 11 penalties in the game, 7 of which were committed by the Americans. Portland was able to get a power play goal by #23 Dominic Turgeon, but it was the 2 power play goals by Tri-City that helped seal the deal. These teams will meet again this Saturday October 24th at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wa.

The Portland Wintehawks have a record of 2-6-0-0 for a total of 4 points but a couple of road victories this weekend will get them right back into the thick of the division standings. The young squad is showing some poise even though their team has been missing players due to injury. This is a young scrappy team that will fight to the last second of the game no matter the score. Although a lot of critics are concerned about this team going forward, this is a typical start to the season for the organization.

Last year, the Winterhawk lost 9 out of their first 10 games, but went on to battle the WHL Champions Kelowna Rockets in the Western Conference finals.  The season before that, the Hawks were 3-3 to start their season, before later becoming the 2014 Western Conference Champions. Don't give up hope on these Portland Winterhawks, they are known to take their time finding out what type of team they are. Once they do, they could be a tough team to beat down the stretch, where it matters the most.

You can catch the games on the radio at AM News talk 860 KPAM, or on the "Live 365" app.