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WHL US Division: Portland Winterhawks' Team Dafoe wins annual Neely Cup

Paul Bittner leads Team Dafoe to a 5-3 victory over Team Langkow to take the annual Neely Cup.

Get ready for this
Get ready for this
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

The annual Neely Cup, named in honor of former Portland Winterhawk Cam Neely, concluded on Sunday with Portland's returning, leading point getter Paul Bittner leading his "Team Dafoe" to a 5-3 win in the first place game over "Team Langkow."

This year, due to Goalie Adin Hill being drafted by the Arizona Coyotes, the Hawks chose to name the four teams in the round robin short tournament after four of the highest drafted goalies in team history. Dafoe was named in honor of Byron Dafoe (with Portland from 1986-1991), who was drafted by Washington in 1989. Langkow was named after Scott Langkow (1991-95), who drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1993. LaBarbera was named after Jason LaBarbera (1996-2000); drafted by the New York rangers in 1998. Lastly, Team May was named in honor of Darrell May (1978-82), who was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1980.

Bittner, who was recently signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, just over a month after being drafted in the second round, 38th overall, led the way in tournament scoring with six goals, as his team won 6-of-7 games (most of the games were 25 minutes long). Seventeen year old protected list player Adam Tisdale was second in team scoring for Team Dafoe with three goals, while signed players, sixteen year old Cody Glass (a former first round Bantam pick) and seventeen year old Defenseman Carter Czaikowski, each had two goals. Sam Willman, a fifteen year old who played for the Portland Jr. Hawks last year and was playing in front of friends and family found the back of the net as well. His future looks bright, as he was recently at USA Select 15 camp, where he had three assists in five games.

Team Langkow went 3-2-2 overall and grabbed second place at the tournament. They were led by returning Winterhawks: 18 year old Jack Flaman and 20 year old Alex Schoenborn, who each had 3 goals, while 18 year old Defenseman Keoni Texeira and 17 year old protected list forward Tanner Nagel each had 2 goals. Flaman was the talk of the Neely Cup as his play wowed fans in attendance. He was a 4th line forward last season, who only had 1 assist over 34 games that he was dressed. He certainly looks primed for an improvement on those point totals this year.

Team May snagged 3rd place in earlier action Sunday with a 3-1 win over Team LaBarbera. Recent import drafted selection: 19 year old Latvian forward Rodrigo Abols was May's leading scorer overall with 3 goals while 19 year old Defenseman Caleb Jones and 19 year old returning forward Keegan Iverson each had two goals. Strong play from Abols, who plays Center, this season would help take the sting out of Portland losing their top 2 Centers from last year's team: Chase De Leo and Nic Petan to the Winnipeg Jet's system.

Team LaBarbera came in last at the tourney with a 2-4-1 record and was only able to notch 6 goals over their 7 games. Top overall Bantam pick from this year: Ty Kolle was one of those that lit the lamp.

All of the unsigned players at the tournament should be leaving training camp this week, while Portland gets ready for their first preseason action as a unified team, next Friday at 3:00 pm vs. the Spokane Chiefs at the Everett Preseason Tournament.

Other Hawk's News

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So honored and proud to be signing with the Portland Winter Hawks <a href="">@pdxwinterhawks</a></p>&mdash; thor maximus (@etmiddy29) <a href="">August 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

16 year old Goalie Ethan Middendorf announced via Twiiter that he had signed an Education Contract with the Winterhawks. Middendorf is from Scottsdale, Arizona and was drafted in the 6th round (131st overall) in last year's Bantam Draft. Middendorf played 7 games for the U-16 Arizona Bobcats last season posting a 2.29 GAA and a 0.895 Save %. The 6'6" back-stopper was one of two Goalies who led Team Dafoe to their first place finish. With starting Goalie Adin Hill likely to miss some preseason and regular season action while with the Arizona Coyotes, Middendorf could see some action behind likely backup: Michael Bullion.