Two weekends, two strong showings for the Portland Winterhawks in the preseason as the team prepares for the start of the 2010-11 WHL Regular Season.
The Hawks knocked off the Everett Silvertips 6-4 on Friday and then the Kootenay Ice 6-2 on Saturday in Kennewick.
With a lot of players (11 on Friday, 13 on Saturday) gone to pro camps, it was a chance for the Hawks to play their younger players and get the a chance to show what they can do as the Hawks begin to pare down the roster heading to opening night in a little under two weeks.
The one guy who really stood out both games was Ty Rattie. He was the best player on the ice in both games and created a ton of chances for himself and his linemates. It’s hard to think of Rattie as just being 17 years old and in his first year of draft eligibility. He had a slow start to his rookie year last year after an injury in the Everett tournament, but he progressed nightly and got a lot of playing time with Chris Francis and Luke Walker when Oliver Gabriel went down with the spleen injury.
Rattie’s line with Sven Bartschi and Teal Burns were a threat each time they were on the ice and it was good to see Bartschi break through on Saturday. Todd Vrooman and I were discussing prior to the game that it would be great to see Bartschi get a goal in the game as he hadn’t scored one yet, despite having some good looks. Well, he got four…and they were all scored by going to the net or the slot. Good things happen when you go there and Rattie has the puck on his stick.
Last year, Mike Johnston put a line together of draft eligible players in preseason and we know how that turned out…two top five NHL picks and all three in the top 43. It will be hard to live up to that, but the line mentioned above are all first year draft eligible players, with Bartschi and Burns being late birth dates. If they stay together and continue to produce, it will be interesting to see how their numbers compare to the other line as the season progresses.
If you’re curious, last year in preseason, the Nino/Johan/Ross line combined for 6-3-9 with each player appearing in five games. The Sven/Rattie/Burns line has put up 7-12-19 with each player appearing in four games.
The Hawks have one more preseason game next Saturday in Kent against Seattle. I won’t be making that trip, but Todd Vrooman will and he will be hosting the live chat on this site that night. Details to come on that later this week…I hope those that tuned in to the first five live chats have found them enjoyable. It isn’t as good as a radio broadcast, but it at least keeps you updated in a timely manner on what is going on and allows fans to ask questions.
The NHL prospect tournaments have started and in Traverse City, some current and former Hawks are hitting the scoresheet:
Ryan Johansen, 2 GP, 0-0-2
Chris Francis, 2 GP, 1-1-2
Oliver Gabriel, 2 GP, 1-0-1
Travis Ehrhardt, 1 GP, 2-0-2
Brett Ponich, 2 GP, 0-0-0
Tristan King, 2 GP, 1-1-2
Colton Sceviour, 1 GP, 0-0-0
Thomas Frazee, 1 GP, 0-0-0
Also, Brad Ross scored a nice goal (highlights available at the Maple Leafs website via www.nhl.com) last night against Chicago. Taylor Peters also got into action for Pittsburgh in the same tournament in London, Ontario, but didn’t hit the scoresheet that I could find.
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