Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday News and Notes/ Preview of the Week Ahead

The Portland Winterhawks have a light week this week, giving them a little extra time to recuperate from 3 straight losses last week to Tri City, Edmonton and Everett.

Portland entered last week with an opportunity to clinch, not only the Western Conference but the Scotty Munro trophy for the best record in the WHL. That did not happen as the Hawks blew 3rd period leads against Tri City and Edmonton and had Everett Goalie Austin Lotz steal one on Saturday.

It was not all bad for the Hawks however, as Kelowna was shut out by Kamloops 3-0 on Sunday. This means that Kelowna is behind Portland 105-96 in points with 6 games left for both teams. Edmonton, with 97 points, with 6 games to play, is 2 points away from clinching the Eastern Conference regular season title.

Elsewhere, Everett lost in overtime to Vancouver 1-0 on Sunday. The point they earned, means they are now tied with Seattle for 7th in the West (The Tips own the tiebreaker) with 6 games to go. Lotz made 26 saves on 27 shots, nearly stealing another game in which the Tips were outshot (27-15).

The Hawks play the Tips for the 10th and last time this year, at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday night. Portland, despite losing in Everett on Saturday, are 8-1 vs.the Tips this year, outscoring them 44-19 in the 9 games. The Hawks will then go up to Victoria, for a game on Sunday, the first of two there, against the Royals. The Hawks are 2-0 vs. Victoria, with consecutive 6-2 victories over them in November.

Kelowna plays Victoria on Wednesday and has a home and home series with Kamloops on Friday and Saturday (Kelowna has a 3 point lead for the B.C. Division title over Kamloops).

Edmonton, just back from a U.S. Division swing, plays another 3 road games: @Regina on Wednesday, @Brandon on Friday and @Moose Jaw on Saturday. These 3 teams have the worst records in the Eastern Conference.

Links and Random Notes:
-Saskatoon, in a wild game, had their 18 game win streak snapped, when their Goalie tried to race Toronto Maple Leaks first round pick for a loose puck in OT. He lost the race.
-Preview of the only game on the WHL slate tonight: Tri City @ Prince George. This is an important game for both teams, as P.G. trails Seattle by 8 points for the last playoff seed and Tri City can re-take the 4th seed from Spokane, with a win.
-Article about the mess in the NHL, over the offer sheet Ryan O'Reilly signed with Calgary. It also mentions that the Pittsburgh Penguins might want to think about moving D-man Kris Letang for a high end forward, as they have elite Defensive prospects like former Hawk Joe Morrow and current Hawk Derrick Pouliot in the pipeline.
 -Piece about Chicago Blackhawks prospects, mentions Hawks Goalie Mac Carruth, former Tips Goalie Kent Simpson, current P.A. Raider Marc McNeill and former Calgary Hitman Kris Beech. (No wonder their consecutive point streak is at 22 games to start his season, they have a ton of WHL talenton the pro level and in the pipeline).
-Rockets looking for B.C. title this week.
-Former Winterhawk Craig Cunningham had a hat trick in a 7-1 Providence victory over Portland in the AHL on Sunday. Cunningham is second on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points.
Craig Cunningham (Winterhawk 2010-11)

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