Winterhawks 4 – Cougars 1

The Portland Winterhawks returned to the win column tonight with a 4-1 win over the Prince George Cougars at the Rose Garden in the first of back-to-back games this weekend against the Cougars.  Tomorrow night, the same two will battle again in the annual Teddy Bear Toss game.

Some randoms…

– The best period for Portland may have been the first despite the 0-0 score after 20 minutes.  The Hawks controlled play and outshot the Cougars 11-4 in the frame.  Ty Rimmer made some nice saves and got some help from the left post on a rocket slap shot by Sven Bartschi.

– The Hawks would score three in the second, the first two on premier passing plays and the third on a great up-ice rush and roof shot by Spencer Bennett.  Bartschi got the scoring started with a nice passing play with Taylor Aronson feeding Ty Rattie down low and a cross crease pass to Sven for the put in.  The next goal was a good rush by Brad Ross and set up for Troy Rutkowski in the slot and Rutkowski fed a nice backhand back to Ross for the goal.

– The Cougars got one back on a goal by Spencer Asuchak late in the second period but that would be all the scoring until Riley Boychuk’s empty netter with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.

– Both goaltenders had strong nights with Mac Carruth stopping 22 of 23 and Rimmer handling 26 of 29 in the loss.  Carruth’s best saves came in the final minute as the Cougars tried to cut into the lead.

– This may have been the best defensive effort from Portland in some time, limiting the Cougars to 23 shots, the second fewest allowed this year for Portland.  I thought Brett Ponich had a very good game, picking up an assist and going +3 while being a beast down low on the penalty kill.

– Brad Ross may want to decline the next time he is awarded a penalty shot.  His attempt in the third period was his third this season (the first Hawk to have three penalty shots in a single season in their history) and fourth of his career.  He is unsuccessful in all four attempts.  The Hawks have had six penalty shots in 34 games, and are just 1 for 6 with Brendan Leipsic’s goal against Lethbridge being the only successful attempt.

– Best of luck to both Ryan Johansen and Ross who will leave tomorrow morning for Toronto to try and earn a spot on Team Canada’s World Junior Championship roster.  The team will miss you, but we know you’ll do us proud boys.

– It was great to meet and interview Ross’ future GM Brian Burke at the game tonight…if you missed it, here is the interview:

– That’s it for tonight…


  1. Are penalty shots an officially tracked stat by the league? If so, it’d be interesting to tell whether or not there are actually more being awarded this year, or if it just seems that way to alot of us fans,.

  2. Dan,
    there is a definite increase of penalty shots in both the WHL and NHL and that is mainly due to giving more leeway to the officials to call them. Nowadays (man, that makes me feel old) even if the player gets a shot or a good scoring opportunity they can call a penalty shot. The main determination is if the player has a clear lane to the net and is impeded in any manner from behind – slash, hook, whatever. Here are some historical numbers for the Hawks:

    There have been 67 penalty shots in games involving Portland in their history since 1976-77…41 for Portland, 26 for their opponents.

    Early on, there were very few:

    3 penalty shots awarded between 1976-77 and 1983-84.

    It picked up a bit after that:

    19 penalty shots awarded between 1984-85 and 1994-95.
    20 penalty shots awarded between 1995-96 and 2005-06.

    Once the new interpretations were put in place around 2006, the numbers have jumped more:

    25 penalty shots awarded between 2006-07 and current, including 12 in the past season and a half.

    The six penalty shots last year and halfway through this year are the most in any year in Hawks history.

    Hope that helps…and, no, there are no official WHL stats tracking penalty shots.


  3. Wow! that’s incredible to see… Thanks alot for posting the info, Andy. I always knew they kept you around for a reason. :) Mind if I re-post this on the O-live board? With proper credit, of course….

  4. No worries, Dan…

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