Oh Yeah…

One thing that I forgot to comment on in my preseason game recap yesterday is that the game on Saturday was the first game for my new partner, Todd Vrooman, and I to work together on a game broadcast.  We focused on the game action with no pre or post game or intermission fillers.

Probably the reason that I forgot to mention it is that it didn’t feel like our first practice broadcast.  The flow was there and I thought that Todd added some great insight to the broadcast.  Can it get better?  Sure, and it will…but for the first time out of the gate, I was very happy with the quality.  It is always harder to do preseason games as the names are different and you have guys that you’ve never heard of, especially for the opposing team.

Hopefully some of you got to listen to our in-house broadcast on 96.5 FM in the MC…I know a few did as I got some comments at the game…if you did…let me know your thoughts on the broadcast.  How can we make it better for you, the listener???  Constructive criticism is always welcome…

Leave a comment below…

Share this Post

Preseason Game Thoughts…

Well…for the majority of the game, the Portland Winterhawks dominated territorially, as evident by the 46-23 edge in shots, but in the end, the Seattle Thunderbirds skated away with a 4-2 win.

The common perception is that preseason games are more about the process than the result and I was pretty happy with the process the Hawks used last night.  Good speed, especially from the defense, and a strong forecheck kept Seattle bottled up most of the night.

Special teams are always a bit of a crap shoot early in the preseason as there isn’t a lot of focus put on them in the early part of training camp and they were the difference last night as Seattle went 3 for 10 on the man advantage while Portland went 1 for 9.

Kyle Jahraus made a case to stick with Seattle as a 19 year old, stopping 44 of 46 in the win.  Jahraus had a 4.80 GAA in the SJHL last year but he seems to play better in the WHL.  He has played just under 100 regular season minutes in the WHL and has not allowed a goal.  Go figure…

I think a week of practicing and scrimmaging against teammates had both teams eager to take out frustrations on an actual opponent as both sides took some undisciplined penalties.  I would expect those to lessen as the preseason advances.

The second period scrum in front of the Seattle bench should have never taken as long as it did to sort out by referee Jason Nissen.  It probably hurt the Hawks as they had the definite momentum rolling and then Seattle scored just nine seconds after play resumed 10 minutes after the scrum and they played better after that.

Did Joe Morrow’s shot go in and out late in the third period?  In the regular season, video review could be used as that will now be in effect in the WHL this season.

All in all….a solid performance, if not the desired result, for the Hawks in their opening preseason game of 2009-10.  Next up is the Everett tournament starting Friday morning…I’ll have full reports from Everett next weekend.

Share this Post

Scrimmages End With Offensive Flair…

In what has been a week dominated by the defense, the offense showed today on the final day of scrimmages, here is a quick recap:

Game 1:  Team Red 6 – Team Blue 5

Scorers:

Red:  Spencer Bennett (3), Trevor Cheek, Joel Ridgeway, Seth Swenson

Blue:  Luke Walker (2), Cody Hoy, Colin Reddin, Adam Smith

Goaltenders:

Red:  Keith Hamilton 19 of 21 saves; Peter Megariotis 16 of 19

Blue:  Kurtis Mucha 15 of 17; David Jacobson 14 of 18

Game 2:  Team Black 6 – Team Maroon 3

Scorers:

Black:  Radim Valchar (3), Taylor Leier (2), Riley Boychuk

Maroon:  Marcus Dahl, Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter

Goaltenders:

Black:  Corbin Boes 7 of 9; Ross Baadsvik (didn’t catch shots – gave up 1 goal)

Maroon:  Christian Frey 20 of 23; Ian Curtis (didn’t catch shots – gave up 2 goals), 1 empty net against

For the record, Team Hodge (Black) won the inaugural Neely Cup and they were presented with the trophy at center ice by Head Coach/GM Mike Johnston following their game.

Some nice goals scored today and the older players stepped forward, most noticeably was Spencer Bennett who scored twice in tight in the final minute of the first half for Red to even the score at 2-2 in the opening game.  He finished off the hat trick with a wrist shot in the second half.

The other hat trick on the day went to Radim Valchar, one on a deflection, the other a wrister, the final into the empty net.

Ryan Johansen and Brad Ross dropped the mitts in their game and had a spirited bout.  Johansen had the height and reach advantage while Ross is well…Brad Ross…like a pitbull.  Both got some shots in…maybe an edge to Ross but it was nice to see that Johansen doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff as a 17 year old rookie.

Luke Walker returned today after sitting out the first two days and scored a couple goals, the second on a great rush around the d-man on the left wing, cutting to the front and slamming it through the pads.  Great speed and drive and something he did a lot last year.

Tonight is decision night for the Coach’s and Scout’s and they will have individual meetings tonight with each player.  This will dress 20 guys tomorrow night and I expect them to keep 30-35 around until at least next weekend when they travel to Everett for the pre-season tournament.  Six players are heading to pro camps around that time, so keeping extra bodies around wouldn’t be a bad thing.

I’ll have the Hawks roster for tomorrow night some time tomorrow, but I would expect to see a roster of 15 – 18 year olds and the same for Seattle.  Remember, if you attend the game, you can listen to the game action on 96.5 FM as Todd Vrooman and I will be calling the game as a practice for us and it will only be available in the arena bowl.  No pre-game, intermissions or post-game…just the game call.

Hope to see a lot of you there…

Share this Post

Thursday Wrap…

Not much tonight but here is a quick recap of the two scrimmages:

Game 1 – Team Peterson (Maroon) 3 vs. Team Currie (Blue) 0

Scorers:

Maroon:  James Kerr, Destry Straight, Ryan Johansen

Blue:  None

Ian Curtis and Christian Frey combine for the shutout for Maroon while Kurtis Mucha was perfect in his 30 minutes of action.  David Jacobson allowed the three goals for Blue.

Game 2 – Team Hodge (Black) 4 vs. Team Bandura (Red) 3 – OT

Scorers:

Black:  Riley Boychuk, Brayden Low, Jordan Lajimodiere, Chris Francis

Red:  Adam Basford, Paul Gaustad, Trevor Cheek

Ross Baadsvik and Corbin Boes combine for the win while Peter Megariotis and Keith Hamilton take the loss.

Game winner scored by Francis with a drive across the slot and a wicked wrister from the right hashmark over the glove of Hamilton for a beauty of a goal.

One scrap on the evening with Taylor Orser and Danny Vlanich dropping the mitts.  Orser (19) was smaller and with a shorter reach than Vlanich (16), but the older player landed the more quality punches to get the decision.

Through the entire week so far, the defense and goaltending have shown me more than the offense, but I’ve seen sparks of offense that should grow with confidence and playing time chemistry.  Nino Niederreiter showed some incredible skill tonight and he is going to be a fun one to watch.

Little Brenden Leipsic at an optimistic 5’7″ was joined on a line tonight by 6’5″ Paul Gaustad and 6’6″ Tayler Jordan.  Leipsic set up Gaustad with a pretty pass for a goal for Team Red.

Day by day, I’ve grown more impressed with Taylor Aronson and he is good in all zones.  He could be one of the best “steals” for the Hawks in a long time having not been drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft.

I’m sure that all of the players that will stay with the team through Saturday will look forward to hitting someone from another organization after a grueling week on the ice against their own teammates.

One more day of scrimmages…then the real work for the Coaching staff begins with the decision making progress…they have their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.

Share this Post

Wednesday Comments…

The Main Camp for the Portland Winterhawks started today and finished with the first two games of the inaugural Neely Cup scrimmages at the MC…a brief review of the two games:

Game 1 – Team Hodge (Black) 2 vs. Team Currie (Blue) 3 in OT

Goal scorers:

Hodge:  Radim Valchar, Riley Boychuk

Currie:  Teal Burns (2), Stefan Schneider

Game 2 – Team Peterson (Maroon) 4vs. Team Bandura (Red) 2

Goal scorers:

Peterson:  Troy Stecher (2), James Kerr, Destry Straight

Bandura:  Spencer Bennett, Brett Ponich

Random Thoughts:

– As I expected both games were a little tentative tonight, not a lot of hitting, but the second game between Maroon and Red had a touch more intensity.  I expect all of the games to gain in intensity the closer we get to Friday.

– Prettiest goal of the night – Team Red with Seth Swenson sending Adam Basford and Spencer Bennett in on an odd-man rush and a pretty feed from Basford giving Bennett an empty net to slide it home.

– Teal Burns scored two goals on wrist shots, one from the right wing, the other from the left wing.

– Radim Valchar and Riley Boychuk both scored by driving hard to the net and slamming it home.

– The OT winner in Game 1 was scored when D-man turned Forward turned D-man Stefan Schneider slammed home a slap shot for the right point, off the far post and in.

– 15 year old D-man Troy Stecher scored on a penalty shot and then into an empty net to seal the win for Team Maroon.

– To answer a common question, yes Killian Hutt is with the team, he is just recovering from some off-season injuries and he won’t take part in the scrimmages this week.

Back at the rink tomorrow afternoon for a couple more games…

Share this Post

Tuesday Rookie Scrimmages…

I took in the last two rookie scrimmages this afternoon and evening…here are a few thoughts…

Game 1 – Black 6 vs. Maroon 3

Once again played in three 20 minute mini-games, the Maroon took a 3-1 lead after the first 20 minutes, but it was all Black after that as they scored the last five goals.

Goal scorers:

Black — Brayden Low (2), Garrett Vincent (2), Taylor Bargar, Frasier Haber

Maroon — Colby Rios, A.J. Michaelson, Adam Smith

Game 2 – Red 5 vs. Blue 3

The Red team was the fastest of the rookie teams that I saw this week and they continued to use pressure to create chances and they held off a good Blue team for the win.

Goal scorers:

Red — Taylor Leier (2), David Pieper (2), Brendan Leipsic

Blue – Ty Rattie (2), Danny Vlanich

Random Thoughts —

– The player that may have made the biggest impression (to me, at least) was the smallest guy on the ice.  That would be the Hawks 6th rounder in 2009, Brendan Leipsic.  Listed at 5’7″ 130, he was everywhere on the ice, throwing big hits, creating scoring chances and being a total pain in the butt for the opposition.   His goal tonight was a beauty of a roofed backhand as well.

There have been players that have been compared to the ultimate Hawk little guy pest Marty Standish, but Leipsic, if he continues his ways, just may rival the old #8.  My early prediction for a fan favorite if/when he makes the Hawks when he is eligible.

– Derrick Pouliot continues to impress with his poise and confidence in the defense zone and his creativity when rushing the puck.  It will be fun to watch him with the veterans the rest of the week and into the Everett tournament.

– Good to see Ty Rattie pot a couple tonight.  The first was on a penalty shot with a nifty move in tight and the second was on back door deflection of a Kyle Madsen entry shot.

– Same for Taylor Leier, both his goals tonight came on pretty plays in front of the net.

– The two Minnesota bantam draft players from this year – A.J. Michaelson and Jake Montgomery – impressed me as well.  Michaelson has speed to burn and Montgomery has a power forward mentality and size.

– Seth Swenson was on the ice and showed some good signs as well.  I talked to him a bit afterwards and he is deservedly tired after a long flight to Portland from Germany.

That’s it for tonight…the scrimmages start for real tomorrow afternoon with the vets and rookies combining into four teams with two scrimmages an afternoon starting at 3:00.  Hope to see some of you there…

Share this Post

Quick Monday Thoughts…

Only was able to catch some of the mid-afternoon sessions today, watching the vets get put through some drills and then play a couple of 40 minute (2 20 minute halfs) scrimmages…some quick thoughts…

— In the first session, Jason Grecica showed himself very well, scoring a couple of goals – one on a greasy rebound, the other on a partial breakaway, ripping it top shelf from in tight on Kurtis Mucha for a beauty of a goal – in his teams win.  Grecica looks great considering he sat out an entire season with knee surgeries.

— Nino Neiderreiter also scored a dandy goal with a stick-handle dangle along the goal line that had him slide it in as he was going behind the net.

— The goaltenders showed well all day with Mucha, Corbin Boes and Keith Hamilton all putting in good performances.  Mucha robbed Luke Walker with a great glove hand in tight while Boes also had a stellar glove save at one point.  Hamilton was steady in his 40 minutes, not allowing a goal.

— Chris Francis dominated his sessions, scoring three goals and setting up two others…he looks ready to dominate the WHL this season.

— Brett Ponich showed off some new skating skills and led the rush a few times that had me looking to make sure it was #6.

— Some of the younger players got to suit up with the vets, including A.J. Michaelson, Jake Montgomery and Corbin Boes.

— Ryan Johansen’s speed surprises me every time I see it and he really uses his long reach to his advantage.

Any way you look at it, there are some serious battles for spots on the 2009-10 roster and the scrimmages starting Wednesday afternoon should be played at levels not usually seen during training camp.  Guys are fighting for their jobs…in the end, the Coaching and Scouting staffs will have some long meetings to determine who stays and who doesn’t…I’m glad I don’t have to make the calls.

Lastly…if you haven’t already, go to www.winterhawks.com and check out the Hawks new site…looks good!

Share this Post

  • Questions?

    Got a question for the broadcast crew? You can email questions to hawksradio@gmail.com and if you include your name and city, we just may answer them on the air!