10/18/11 – Portland 7 – Saskatoon 6 (SO) – Memorial Coliseum: It was a throwback game on Tuesday night at the MC as offense ruled on this night as the teams combined for 12 goals through 65 minutes before Portland put the hammer down by going three-for-three in the shootout to gain the extra point.
Portland would jump out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Brad Ross (short-handed) and Brendan Leipsic in the first 15:29 of the contest. From there, Saskatoon would score five of the next six goals, led by Josh Nicholls who finished the night with 4 goals and 2 assists to play a factor in all of the Blades markers on the night.
The Hawks had gone 0 for 3 on the power play through 40 minutes but got the man advantage going, scoring two third period power play goals by Brad Ross and Troy Rutkowski before Joe Morrow scored the goal of the early season, going end-to-end and finish before crashing into the net himself to tie it at 6-6.
Both teams had great chances in OT, but it would go to the shootout where Derrick Pouliot, Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi would offset a single marker by Nicholls for the win.
Mac Carruth got the victory, stopping 33 of 39 shots while rookie Adam Todd handled 47 of 43 in his first career WHL start.
Power Plays – Portland 2 for 5/Saskatoon 1 for 3
10/21/11 – Edmonton 8 – Portland 4 – Rexall Place: The Edmonton Oil Kings broke open the game with a three goal outburst in a 1:25 stretch just over halfway through the first period and they didn’t look back, preventing the Hawks from getting off to their nine game road trip on a good note.
Dylan Wruck got the scoring started and he led the Oil Kings on the night with 1 goal and 3 assists in the win. Michael St. Croix, Ashton Sautner, Kristians Pelss, Martin Gernat, T.J. Foster, Stephane Legault and Ryan Dech all contributed goals as the Oil Kings spread the scoring out over eight different players.
Portland got power play goals from Troy Rutkowski and Ty Rattie and even strength goals from Brendan Leipsic and Jason Trott in defeat.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 20 of 24 shots to get the win, while Portland split the goaltending duties with Mac Carruth stopping 15 of 20 in 40 minutes and Brendan Burke stopping 5 of 8 shots in 20 minutes.
Power Plays – Portland 2 for 5/Edmonton 1 for 4
10/22/11 – Red Deer 2 – Portland 1 (SO) – Enmax Centrium: In stark contrast to the game just one day earlier, the Hawks and Rebels played a defensive style contest in this one as the two teams could just muster two goals combined in 65 minutes.
Portland scored first with Brendan Leipsic fired home a power play goal from the slot early in the second period and that lead would hold up until rookie d-man Stephen Hak would jump into an open lane and file a wrister in the opening minute of the third period.
Both goaltenders played well with rookie import Patrik Bartosak stopping 32 of 33 in regulation and five of six in the shootout for the win while fellow rookie Brendan Burke stopped 19 of 20 in regulation and four of six in the shootout.
Power Plays – Portland 1 for 3/Red Deer 0 for 3
Goals – Portland 11 – Opponents 16 (Season – Portland 48 – Opponents 51)
Shots – Portland 101 – Opponents 88 (Season – Portland 501 – Opponents 365)
Power Play – 5 for 13 – 38.5% (Season – 20 for 68 – 29.4%)
Penalty Kill – 8 for 10 – 80.0% (Season – 38 for 47 – 80.9%)
Kemper’s Three Stars of the Week:
1. Brendan Leipsic – Leipsic provided a huge spark after returning from his five game suspension, and has goals in three straight games (a career best). Posted 3-1-4 in the three games.
2. Joe Morrow – Posted 1-4-5 in the three games and scored the highlight reel goal of the early season to tie the game against the Blades.
3. Brad Ross – The Hawks most consistent performer all season, posted 2-3-5 in the three games.
Ty Rattie – 2-1-3 in 3 games
Troy Rutkowksi – 2-1-3 in 3 games
Sven Bartschi – 0-3-3 in 1 game
Mac Carruth – 50th career WHL victory (10/18/11)
Sven Bartschi – 100th career WHL point (10/21/11)
Ty Rattie – 150th career WHL game played (10/22/11)
What to watch for in the upcoming week:
The long road trip continues with four games this week, starting on Tuesday night in Calgary against former Head Coach Mike Williamson. The Hitmen had won three straight before losing yesterday to the Kootenay Ice. They sit at 4-5-0-1 after 10 games and feature a ton of players that used to play in the Western Conference including Brooks Macek, Jimmy Bubnick, Brady Brassart, Kenton Miller, Spencer Humphries, Brock Sutherland and Chris Driedger.
On Wednesday, the Hawks travel to Medicine Hat to take on the high-flying Tigers and another former Winterhawk behind the bench in Shaun Clouston. The Tigers are 9-4-0-0 after 13 games and feature sniper Emerson Etem who has returned from the Anaheim Ducks with a vengeance, scoring 16 goals in just 12 games. He an Hunter Shinkaruk have combined for 26 of the Tigers 49 goals (53.1%)
On Friday, the Hawks will take on the struggling Lethbridge Hurricanes who have, at this writing, dropped 11 straight games to fall to 2-11-0-1 on the season after winning two of their first three games. They have made a ton of deals in the past few weeks, but so far it hasn’t produced any victories. They are led by overage forward Cam Braes, who has 14 points in 14 games. Former Hawk d-man Daniel Johnston has missed the last few games with an upper body injury.
On Saturday, it is the WHL Final rematch with the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. The Ice have put up a 9-3-0-2 record through 14 games and they are being led by 20 year old netminder Nathan Lieuwen, who has put up 1.44 GAA and .948 save % through 11 games. Max Reinhart returned from the Calgary Flames and has 16 points in 12 games to lead the Ice offensively.
Stat of the week:
Josh Nicholls scored four goals in the Blades 7-6 shootout loss to Portland on 10/18/11. The last player to score four goals against Portland and lose was Brian Sakic of the Tri-City Americans. Sakic scored four times and added one assist in a 9-6 Hawks win in Tri-City on January 19, 1992.