Picture by Jimmy Budinski
Portland went on an early season Eastern road swing and did better than expected, going 6-2 before coming home to face the Tri-City Americans. Portland (8-5-0-0 16 points) were on a high after their road swing, but unfortunately looked sluggish against the Americans and later in Kent against the Thunderbirds. Although the skaters looked tired, the goaltending still stayed strong. Cole Kehler, who was second in the league with six wins, played both games and looked great. Against the Americans, he stopped 35 of 41 shots and against Seattle, he stopped 25 of 27 shots in both losses. Since Kehler is clearly the number one goaltender for the team (at least it seems that way) we should see a lot more of him in the crease. Coming up this week, head coach/general manager Mike Johnston will probably start Michael Bullion in at least one of the coming three games to ensure that Kehler does not get overused like Adin Hill (now with the Arizona Coyotes organization) did under former coach Jamie Kompon last season.
Here are the results from the previous two games.
Tri-City Americans (4) @Portland Winter Hawks (3)
Portland controlled his game from the start, but could not get any goals in the last two periods to get the win. The Americans scored three goals on 26 shots in the final two periods to get the win over the high-flying Hawks. Rylan Parenteau , goaltender for Tri-City, stopped 38 of 41, stopping the last 26 shots to get the win. Cole Kehler saved 35 shots of the 39 he faced.
Picture by Jimmy Budinski
Portland Winterhawks (1) @ Seattle Thunderbirds (3)
Portland dominated this series in the previous two games with 7-3 and 6-1 winsPortland loses two close games vs the Tri City Americans and the Seattle Thunderbirds after winning three straight. We also asked devoted fan Tony Metzger a couple questions about the current season., but this game was a different game on a different night. Seattle scored two goals in the first period with one being a power play goal. Portland scored a goal on the power play by Skyler McKenzie at the 3:45 mark of the second period, but that was all they would get. Rylan Toth was stellar in net for the T-Birds stopping 32 of 33 shots he faced making great stops after great stops leaving the Portland forwards scratching their heads.
From the Fan Section
This week I talked to devoted fan and admin for the Facebook group page "Portland Winterhawk fans" Tony Metzger. I asked him if he thinks the Winterhawks can continue their hot start? "Yes, I believe they can continue their hot start." He said. "Mike Johnston does a great job pairing the lines together and the boys seem to be communicating well together. Their play seems smoother, their puck handling has looked much more controlled, and we have some of the top scorers on our team." I also asked Tony when he thinks the Winterhawks will get back to their 'dominating' ways with Mike Johnston behind the bench again? "I would give them 2-3 seasons. Mike (Johnston) has a good grasp on who the power players are already, but has more to learn about all of them. I believe he will continue to mold the younger players as well as strategically recruit players to fill our weak spots"
Portland has three games coming up that are all at home so the team can get rest without having to travel. They have a game coming up against Tri-City and two games in as many days against the Kelowna Rockets. This will be much needed after the previous Eastern road swing tired the boys out.
Tri-City Americans @ Portland Winterhawks Tuesday Oct 25 7:00PM
Kelowna Rockets @ Portland Winterhawks Saturday Oct 29 7:00 PM
Kelowna Rockets @ Portland Winterhawks Sunday Oct 30 5:00PM
Catch all of the action on radio at KPAM 860 and get the call from Todd Vrooman and Andy Kemper. Also streaming online at KPAM.com.
You can also catch Winterhawk action and news on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/946672248691074/
"Portland Winterhawks Live Play by Play"