Winterhawks 5 – Blazers 4

With the 5-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers last night at the Rose Garden, the Portland Winterhawks have reached the official halfway point of the season, having played 36 games.   The record is good – 25-8-0-3 – but the battle will just be beginning as we head into the second half of the season in a very competitive Western Conference.

On paper, it looked like a bit of a mismatch last night as Kamloops was missing key players in Chase Schaber, Jordan DePape and Dalibor Bortnak.  But, the game isn’t played on paper and the Blazers came out with their hard hat on and pushed Portland into a close game that once again featured some great offense as these two teams just can’t seem to play a low scoring game.

Nino Niederreiter led the way for Portland with two goals and one assist, just missing the hat trick when his shot at the empty net hit the post in the final seconds.  Niederreiter will exit for the World Junior’s with 13-13-26 in 23 games after returning from the New York Islanders and will be interesting to see what he does for an encore with the Swiss National Team.

His countryman Sven Bartschi got the winner with just under four minutes left and he too will depart to join the Swiss team.  His 21-26-47 first half is good enough for top 5 in the WHL and tops for all rookies in the WHL.

Spencer Bennett extended his career best goal streak to three games with a power play goal and he, as well as players like Riley Boychuk (who has five points in his last three games), will be called  upon to add more offense with Nino, Sven and Ryan Johansen gone to the World Juniors and Brendan Leipsic gone to the World U17’s.

Next up, the Sugar Plum game in Kent on Saturday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

And, as we have reached the halfway mark, I’ll post first half comparisons either later today or on Friday morning…





  1. Hey Andy,

    Do you know if Adam Smith and Brayden Low will be joining the team for the game this weekend, or will they be joining up with them after the break?

  2. Trevor,
    Low and Smith will join the team after the holiday…Nicolas Petan is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday in Kent.


  3. I thought Ty Rattie was born in Canada but apparently he was born OFFSIDES!

    Kidding…kind of. One of them wasn’t his fault.

  4. KBH,
    I’ve actually noticed that the offsides have gone DOWN dramatically… Maybe Andy has the numbers to back up my observation, but I remember games in the early season where the whistle was blowing all the time for offsides. I’m sure that has to do with line-mates getting used to playing with each other. On another Rattie note, I love the fact that Johnansen is on the Rattie/Sven line now. I’m sure he can find a way to get Ty’s confidence back (although that will have to wait until after the World Juniors)


  6. Guys,

    Pay attention to the next few games. Ty is pushing the limits at the Blueline instead of slowing up and bursting into the offensive third at the exact time. It doesn’t help that Sven and D-men deke or cut across behind him and force him offsides.

    Other than that, I’m glad he got the monkey off his back. He was snake bit for about 2 weeks.

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