Tape Delay Saturday Night…

Due to the Washington State vs. Notre Dame football game, the broadcast of the Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs game will be delayed on Freedom AM 970 KCMD on Saturday night.

The broadcast should be started around 9:00 PM and it will include the full pre-game and game audio as well as a post-game show.   Todd Vrooman is making his way to Spokane as well to help out on the broadcast tomorrow night.

Want an omen?  We were tape delayed once last year and the Hawks won in Seattle 9-1.   This should be the only time this season that we will be tape delayed.


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Ponich Named to Team WHL…

Ponich, BrettPortland Winterhawks Captain Brett Ponich has been selected to take part in the CHL Subway Super Series in November.

He will play for Team WHL when they take on the Russian squad on November 25 in Victoria, BC.

The Winterhawks will be on the road in Tri City that night, so he will obviously miss that game, and he could miss the home game on the 24th as well when the Hawks host the Regina Pats.

Portland will get a break as Brendan Shinnimin for the Americans will play in the same game, meaning he won’t be in the line-up for Tri City.

Ponich was a 2nd round selection of the St. Louis Blues in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

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Peters to Penticton…

Peters, TaylorThe Portland Winterhawks announced today that 17 year old forward Taylor Peters has been reassigned to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.

Peters appeared in only three games this season, going pointless, after posting 4-4-8 in 70 games last season as a 16 year old rookie.  He also scored twice as a 15 year old affiliate player call-up two seasons ago.

He joins a very good Penticton team that has gone 15-2-1 in 18 games this season, outscoring their opponents 88-40 in the process.

Portland drafted Peters in the 4th round (#68 overall) in the 2007 Bantam Draft.

On a personal note, I want to wish Taylor the best as he was always a great kid to be around and to have a conversation with.   I’ve got to know his family over the past couple of seasons and I will miss seeing them at games all over the Conference the rest of this season.

Godspeed, Petey…tear ’em up in Penticton…


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Two Points Is Two Points…

The winning save...photo courtesy Jon RagsdaleAfter using superior special teams to take a 4-1 lead last night at the Memorial Coliseum, the Portland Winterhawks held off the Brandon Wheat Kings and escape with a 5-4 shootout win to extend the winning streak to four games and their overall record to 12-5-0-0.

Kurtis Mucha, in relief of Ian Curtis who left with a shoulder injury near the end of the first period, stopped all three Brandon shooters in the shootout (including a dandy pad save on Matt Calvert on the final shot, pictured above) while Chris Francis slid home the winner, ala Peter Forsberg, to get the Hawks the win.

It looked like it would be an easier two points as the Hawks scored three times on their first four power plays to take the 4-1 lead, but Brandon got a couple breaks on shots by Jay Fehr that bounced in off Winterhawks to make it 4-3 at the end of two and then a power play goal by Brayden Schenn evened it early in the third.

I’ve read some reports that said the Hawks didn’t play very well for the second half of the game, but I would argue that the team they faced had a lot to do with that.  Brandon, despite their deceiving 8-6-0-2 record, may very well be the best team the Hawks have faced so far this season.  They have the two scoring lines in Schenn/Calvert/Glennie and Lewadniuk/Fehr/Rajala and one of the most dominant d-pairs in Colby Robak and Alexander Urbom.

Jacob DeSerres played fairly well for Brandon, but I’m sure he’s tired of seeing Portland this season as 15 of the 20 goals surrendered by DeSerres this season have been scored by Portland.

Next up, the Hawks will round out the first quarter of the season, by playing Game #18 on Saturday, Halloween night, in Spokane against the Chiefs.   With a victory, the Hawks would finish the quarter with a 13-5-0-0 record for 26 points.  Only five times in their history have the Hawks finished with more than 26 points in 18 games:

1982-83 — 15-3-0, 30 points (won Memorial Cup)

1993-94 — 15-3-0, 30 points (lost in Conference Final)

1997-98 — 15-3-0, 30 points (won Memorial Cup)

1980-81 – 13-4-1, 27 points (lost in Conference Final)

1988-89 – 13-4-1, 27 points (lost in WHL Final)

Also, in 1985-86, the Hawks went 13-5-0-0 for 26 points and lost in the Conference Final.

A reminder, the radio broadcast on Saturday will be tape delayed until after the conclusion of the Washington State/Notre Dame football game on Freedom 970 KCMD…the football game starts at 4:30 PM PDT, so, hopefully the game won’t be delayed very long, but it will be heard in its entirety.

After that, the Hawks get the next five games at home against Spokane, Vancouver, Seattle, Kelowna and Chilliwack.



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Kamloops Fires Barry Smith…

The first coaching casualty of the 2009-10 WHL season was announced this morning with the Kamloops Blazers, who had been ranked as high as 5th in the CHL Top 10 this season, released Head Coach Barry Smith.   Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson takes over as the interim Head Coach with Geoff Smith remaining on as the Assistant Coach for GM Scott Bonner.

The Blazers have played the most games in the league this season at 17, and their record sits at 8-7-2-0 for 18 points.  The record doesn’t tell the story however as the Blazers have been outscored 69-56 in their games and have been badly outshot most nights.

In the 17 games, the Blazers have given up 726 shots, an average of 42.7 per game while garnering 473 shots of their own, an average of 27.8 shots per game.

The Blazers have outshot their opponents only twice this season.

Kamloops had given up 50 or more shots in three games this season, including a season high 59 to the Portland Winterhawks on October 4th, a 4-3 OT win for Portland.  They had given up 40 or more shots in nine other games and had given up less than 30 only twice.

The Blazers had lost their last five games, being outscored 24-9 and outshot 226-102 in the five games.

The Hawks next game against the Blazers won’t be until January 13 at the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops.

It appears that Radim Valchar’s time in Lethbridge is coming to a close as the Hurricanes are getting Luca Sbisa back from the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL.  Sbisa’s return gives the Canes three Euro players and Valchar hasn’t exactly been on Rich Preston’s radar recently.

I hope Radim finds a good place to play and I wish him the best of luck.

Next up, the Hawks host the Brandon Wheat Kings tomorrow night at the MC…some team with tall players is playing next door, so plan accordingly for parking and/or transit options.

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Photo’s From Cranbrook…

Some shots from the game on Friday night…

Warm ups from one of the better press box views in the league...

Warm ups from one of the better press box views in the league...

The post-game celebration...

The post-game celebration...

The final happy scoreboard for the trip...

The final happy scoreboard for the trip...

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Rolling Home…

It’s 1:15 AM…the bus is rolling just West of Spokane and the wireless Internet is working…time to post a blog as sleep probably won’t be part of the equation tonight.

The road trip ended on a positive note with the 5-1 win over the Kootenay Ice at the Cranbrook RecPlex.   The Hawks dominated the game, even if the shot clock showed that Kootenay outshot the Hawks.   The trip was a success…4-2 and it could have been 5-1 if not for a letdown against the Calgary Hitmen.

The team showed signs of coming together during this long stretch of road games and it is nice to at 11-5-0-0 after 16 games.    More impressive is the 8-4-0-0 record on the road and it is also nice to know that the Hawks are one third of the way through the road schedule and we aren’t even through October yet.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Hawks host the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday night and hen a home and home series with the Spokane Chiefs.

I took some photos tonight and I’ll post them sometime this weekend as the upload speed on the bus isn’t great…

Ian Curtis’ save against the Medicine Hat Tigers is the #4 play of the week for the WHL, thanks to the video staff in Medicine Hat for help in getting the video to the league for submission as they had the best angle from the overhead camera.

Time to watch a movie…about five more hours until we roll into the Rose City…

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