Friday, January 31, 2014

Former Winterhawk of the Week: Dan DaSilva

This week was a big one for former Winterhawk and Saskatoon, Sakatchewan native Dan DaSilva. His professional career has been one thats seen him wear 10 different team's sweaters over a 9 year career. It even took him over-seas to the KHL.

Now, though he is back in familar surroundings, playing with the San Jose Shark's AHL affiliate: Worcester. He earned this by starting the season with the ECHL's Ontario Raign on a tear. He was named the ECHL player of the week in late November and was on the best scoring pace of his entire career with 26 points in 14 games for the Ontario Reign. This got him a contract with Worcester.
Da Silva played last season in the AHL also, for the Minnesota Wild's affiliate the Houston Aeros on a 1 year deal. Again he carved his path with a stint with the Ontario Reign, scoring 42 points in 35 games. He did reasonably well with Houston, posting 14 points in 22 games, before being released in the offseason.

DaSilva was undrafted after scoring 73 points for the Hawks back in 2004-05 and he earned a professinal contract after trying out at the Colorado Avalanche camp. Hard work is something that this guys game strives on. He never shied away from the rought stuff too in Portland notching 127 penalty minutes in his last season and this has carried into his professional career.

He now sits 3rd for the AHL's Sharks in scoring. He had a great week: scoring a goal and and assist in a 3-2 loss to Providence on January 25th; notching an assist and scoring the game winning shoot out goal vs. Manchester in a 3-2 win on January 26th and adding an assist in a 6-3 loss to Manchester on the 29th. As of the writing of this post, he has extended his point streak to 4 with a goal in a game against Springfield tonight.

DaSilva knows the amount of hard work that it will take to get him to at least a game in the NHL, as his 2 former linemates on his last stint with Worcester: Andrew Desjardins and John McCarthy are with San Jose now and he has to know that at 29 years old it's getting late in his career, fast. Still it is always admirable to see a guy give it his all in the search of just one game at his chosen carrer's highest level. All the best to Dan in his search.

Note: If Dan makes it to at least one game in the NHL, he would be, surprisingly the 9th guy off of the 2004-05 Hawks squad to do so (Mike Sauer, Braydon Coburn, Fraser McLaren, Mike Funk, Cody McLeod, Brandon Dubinsky, Colton Sceviour and Brendan Mikkelson have already made their NHL debuts). Not bad for a team that lost to Everett in the first round of the playoffs.

Goalie Issues Fixed??

Back on January 9th (Trade Deadline Day) the Winterhawks traded 17 year old enforcer Steven Alldridge and a 2nd round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for 20 year old Goalie Corbin Boes, Boes had 51 wins over his career, a 3.52 GAA and a .901 Save % in 152 career ganes for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Lethbridge.

It was a highly criticized move, especially considering the giving up of a hight Bantam pick for a guy slated to be your backup. In an Oregon Live interview, Coach Mike Johnston referenced Boes' playoff experience as a reason for trading for him. He started 14 games over 2 playoff runs, notching 5 wins, a 3.90 GAA and a .892 Save %. Those were hardly the kind of numbers that would make a fan get excited.

There is a strong argument though that this move was warranted. In two highly anticipated match ups with the WHL leading Kelowna Rockets, Portland got horrid outings from Goalies Brendan Burke and  Jarrod Schamerhorn in 9-3 and 7-2 losses at home. Sure they were missing 4 of their top players, but giving up 16 goals in 2 games is definitely something that warrants attention.

And so far at least, it has worked wonders. Boes made his debut in Victoria the day after the trade. He stopped 31 of 33 shots. The game would go to a shoot out in which Boes gave up the only goal in 6 total team chances and earned a loss in his first start with the Hawks. That would be the last loss the Hawks would suffer so far this month.

Boes has now started 4 total games since being traded and is 3-0-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA and a .929 Save %. Burke meanwhile has even better numbers since the trade with a 5-0 record, a 1.20 GAA and a .956 Save %. Now those are numbers that would get even this guy excited.

What has been the difference? Well it could be the addition of another great puck possessing D-man in Matt Dumba, keeping the pressure off of the Goalies. The numbers would seem to back this up as the Hawks have out shot every opponent since and are 6-0 since his implementation into the line up.

However, I would argue that it's more about Burke getting to share the wealth of starts in net. He started a ridiculous amount: 36 of a possible 42, before the trade. This included 9 times when he started back to back games. That is a large burden for a Goalie and especially for a Goalie playing in Portland's high tempo system that leads to facing nearly as many really high quality scoring chances as other shots. Burke getting a chance to rest between starts, bodes well for a long playoff run and gives Portland a back up plan (pun intended), should Burke not start well in the play offs.

This success will count on Burke shelving his ego and sharing the crease that was handed to him earlier this season. So far at least, the Hawks are reaping the benefits of trading for Boes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hawks Regaining Dominance Over Everett

With 3 straight lop sided victories over the Everett Silvertips, the Portland Winterhawks appear to be regaining the dominant play that led them to a 26-4 record over 3 years between 2010 and 2013. In those 3 seasons, the Hawks seemed to revel in pushing around a team that couldn't score on them and struggled mightily in trying to slow them down.

Everett had to realize this when they brought defensive minded coach Kevin Constantine back into the fold despite his past actions and possibly because of them. Constantine immediately had an effect on the Tips leading them to the lead in the U.S. Division, as late as November. Then injuries started piling up in January. They have now dropped 5 in a row, 3 of the them to the Winterhawks. In those 5 games, the defensive minded Tips have given up 29 goals. Starting Goalie: Austin Lotz was even pulled twice in that span.

Portland is now 5-2 vs. the Silvertips those season with 3 games left to play in the series. The frustration was easy to see on a lot of the Tip's players faces on Sunday and Wednesday especially, as they just could not stay with the fleet footed Hawks.

Let's take a brief look over those 3 games:

Friday 1/24 Everett 1 @ Portland 5:
-This one was actually the closest game of the 3, as as it was a 1 goal game going into the 3rd period.
-Garrett Haar returned to the lineup after missing a few  games. This means that Portland's Defense is now intact and these 7 players will be what Portland will head into the playoffs with.
-The first half of the game was some fantastic back and forth Everett play and we thought we were in store for a tight contest. The Portland started slowly but surely taking control of the game as they killed off a penalty and then scored a crazy goal as Nic Petan banked the puck off of Everett D-man Ben Betker's skate and in.
-This goal changed all the momentum and it led to a couple weak goals let in by Austin Lotz in the 3rd period. Lotz was yanked for the first time vs. Portland this season.
-The game would get chippy late, led by a vicious knee thrown by Everett D-man Noah Juulsen. Portland would cement their victory with their 5th goal, on a 5 on 3 power play.
-This victory reminded me far more the wins that Portland had last season, when they got solid goaltending even better defense. Now with Matt Dumba in the fold and Haar healthy, the Hawks again have one of the better back ends in the league.
-Burke was very solid in this one, as he keeps piling up solid starts.

Sunday 1/26 Portland 6 @ Everett 2:
-If the previous games was closer than the score showed, this one was more of a blow out than the score showed.
-Everett just could not keep up with the team speed that the Hawks kept throwing at them.
-The Tips did score first, when Josh Winquist found a loose puck and potted it past Brendan Burke. Winquist is the Silvertips leading scorer with now 68 points in 46 games. Secondary scoring has been the big issue for Everett though this season as their next leading scorer is Ivan Nikolishin with 37 points.
-The game quickly became the Oliver Bjorkstrand show, as he stick handled through 3 Silvertips to tie the score at 1 and then scored twice in the 2nd, sandwiching a Brendan Leipsic goal and giving the Hawks a 4-1 lead.
-This was the spot, earlier in the season, where Portland would let a team back into a game they had no business being in. The Hawks this time though just put their collective foot on everett's throat, closing out the game with two 3rd period goals by Chase De Leo and Keegan Iverson.
-It really is amazing how fast the Hawks get the puck going back the other way with their defense. Dumba gives them another guy that excels at leading the rsh from the back.
-At the WHL level, it really is difficult for the other team to stop you when your D-men are as good at this as Portland's are.
-Even 16 year old Keoni Texeira showcased his skating, with a huge burst of speed in the 2nd period and creating a scoring chance for himself.

Wednesday 1/29 Everett 1 @ Portland 8:
-The Winterhawks closed out the 3 game set with Everett with a 8-1 victory that was just pure dominance from the get-go.
-Paul Bittner, scored first for the Hawks and he would go on to get 2 goals and 2 assists for his 2nd career 4 point game.
-Of note was that 16 year old Ethan Price had a highlight reel goal in the 2nd period, chasing Austin Lotz again. He also had an assist for his first multi-point game in his WHL career.
-Price adding scoring touch to his game only means great things for the future of the Hawks, as he already knows how to play physically and is one of the Hawks best defensive forwards.
-Brendan Leipsic had a WHL goal of the year candidate in the 2nd period when he broke in alone on Ausitn Lotz and put his stick blade, with the puck, back behind his left leg. He sniped it over Lotz's right shoulder all in the same motion.
-Mark"Peaches" Brennan, the Hawks equipment manager had a nice assist of his own after Matt Dumba broke his stick on the 5 on 3 power play and "Peaches" swiftly got him anew one. Dumba then slammed home a one timer, giving the Hawks a 7-1.
-7 Winterhawks had multi-point nights, lead by Bittner's 4 points and Petan's 3.
-Petan now has 81 points in 42 games, 9 points behind Mitch Holmberg's 90 for the WHL lead. He has played 9 less games than Holmberg though.
-Bjorjstrand has now officially broken out of his scoring slump and is 3rd in points with 72 and 2nd in goals with 34 (Holmberg has 46).
-Leipsic is also creeping up the leader board with 22 points in his last 10 games. He now sits 6th with 65 points in 39 games.

-Portland next faces off against 2 other U.S. Division rivals Friday and Saturday night, hoping to keep their 8 game winning streak going strong.
-Portland now has a 6 points lead in the U.S. Division over Seattle with a 73-67 margin, with 21 games left for both teams.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Recap of Last Week's Action

The Portland Winterhawks capitalized on the momentum gained from the previous weekend up in British Columbia, to come back home and win 3 straight over Moose Jaw, Spokane and Vancouver. They were aided by the debut of the newest Winterhawk: Matt Dumba, as well as, some much needed rest for three players that attended the World Junior Championships in Sweden.

Friday 1/17: Moose Jaw 2 @ Portland 8:
-It was the first game of a 5 game U.S. Division trip for the East Division's Warriors and it could not have gone worse for them. They ran into a team that had momentum and just too much team speed and slick passing ability for the young Warriors.
-The Warriors would lose promising 16 year old Goalie Zach Sawchenko to a lower body injury, as well as, one of their top scorers Jack Rodewald to a re-injured jaw. Then, during a late scrap with Adam De Champlain, hated D-man Jesse Forseberg was injured.
-The Hawks, though came out flying and all 4 lines were contributing offensively in creating chances.
-10 players ended up with at least one point and Chase De Leo led the way with 4 assists in the blow out.
-Portland was 4/6 on the power play, moving them to 1st in the league by the end of the game.
-Reigning WHL player of the week Derrick Pouliot, had a goal and 2 assists in the win.
-New Hawk Matt Dumba was just impressive, leading the attack up the ice and making it hard for the Warrior's defense to react to countless odd man rushes and showing great passing abilities in setting up 2 Hawk's goals.
-Dumba is a perfect fit for the Hawks, as he plays on the edge, like so many of their other players, is a fantastic skater and is great on odd man rushes. His addition really looks to set them up for a long playoff run.

Sunday 1/19: Spokane 0 @ Portland 5:
-Portland is now 6-0 vs. the Chiefs, who cannot seem to figure out either the Hawks or Seattle, going a combined 0-11 vs. the two.
-Brendan Leipsic, rebounding from a mediocre season this weekend, scored first off of a Layne Viveiros shot's rebound and the Hawks were off to the races. Portland has scored first vs. Spokane, 19 times in a row.
-Anton Cederholm is gradually getting used to playing in North America and he showed how far he's come with an incredible outlet pass that sent Chase De Leo in on a break away, which he finished with a slick backhand to put the score at 2-0.
-The Winterhawks again created many odd man rushes the other way and Spokane's Goalie: Garrett Hughson was actually their best defender in shutting down most of these.
-Matt Dumba took a couple very ill advised penalties, continuing what plagued him at the WJC's, but then came back and caused Spokane to take a penalty in the 3rd, which led to Oliver Bjorkstrand scoring his 30th of the season and finalizing the score at 5-0.
-Portland has got to be in Spokane's head at this point, as they have not put their best effort forth the last couple of games, once the Hawks score a couple goals.
-Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani were held off of the score sheet for the 4th game in a row, as their torrid scoring pace finally seems to have leveled off. It could not have helped that this was right after the trade deadline in which the two 20 year olds were constantly talked about as being moved.
-In those 4 games, Spokane scored just 4 total goals, as their secondary scoring continues to be absent.
-Goalie Brendan Burke got his first shut out of the season and 5th of his career. The addition of 20 year old Corbin Boes as his backup seems to have put a little pep in Mr. Burke's step and he played 2 of his better games of the weekend.

Monday 1/20: Vancouver 2 @ Portland 5:
-Fresh off of Coach Don Hay getting his 600th win, the Vancouver Giants came to town for the first time and gave the Hawk's their best game of the weekend, before being sent back north of the border with a 5-2 loss.
-Vancouver opened the scoring when Derrick Pouliot failed to get the puck out of the zone and Cain Franson scored on the rebound off a Carter Popoff shot.
-Portland then demonstrated what makes them unique in the WHL, when Derrick Pouliot scored on an odd man rush and Matt Dumba scored his first in a Winterhawk's sweater on a booming point shot on the power play. Just like that it was 2-1.
-Dumba seems like he fits perfectly on the first unit penalty kill, as he made a couple clears from his own corner. I don't know if any other Defensemen in the WHL can make those plays.
-Adam Rossignol, though not scoring, is finally showing consistency in doing what the Hawk's Coaching staff is asking him to do. He is now being placed as one of Portland's top penalty killers and made an epic diving play on the kill that kept out a scoring chance. His effort level will do nothing but challenge the younger Hawks to match their 20 year old teem mate.
-Vancouver, unlike Spokane the day before, showed resolve and answered the Hawks, keeping the game close for much of the night.
-The ultimately game winning goal was perfect play by the Hawk's top line. Brendan Leipsic made a play on the boards and got the puck down to Nic Petan along the goal line. Petan drove the net, while Paul Bittner sealed off the other Defenseman, allowing Petan to backhand it past a sprawling Peyton Lee.
-That play has been emblematic of the Hawk's offensive play this season. If they continue to play this well, they are going to continue scoring in bunches.
-The Giants put a ton of pressure on Corbin Boes, who as up to the task and helped the Hawks hold on for the win.

Portland won in many different ways over the extended weekend and will look to continue their  now 5 game win streak Friday at home vs. Everett and Sunday up at Comcast Arena vs, the sane squad. They play U.S. Division opponents in all of their next 7 games. his stretch could be the most pivotal of their season, as they hold onto a 4 point lead over Seattle for the Division lead currently.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Preview of Tonight's Opponent: Moose Jaw Warriors


Portland celebrated getting players back last week by landing 7 of a possible 8 points in a difficult 4 games in 5 games stretch. This had to be difficult on Nic Petan, Taylor Leier and Derrick Pouliot especially, as they were at the World Juniors, away from their families during the holidays. Coach/GM Mike Johnston decided to give these 3 players a break from practices this week, by letting them head home and spend some quality time with their loved ones.

They are back in town now and were joined by new addition Matt Dumba. Dumba looks to make his debut with the Winterhawks after spending some time recuperating from a shoulder injury and an illness he acquired at the World Juniors in Sweden.

For his debut, Dumba will get to face a familiar foe to him: the Moose Jaw Warriors. He has 5 goals and 4 assists in 13 career games against the Warriors.

7pm Friday vs. Moose Jaw (13-25-3-3, 32 pts, 5th in the East Division and 10th in Eastern Conference):
-Moose Jaw is in the middle of a rebuild after making a run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2012. This was forced a little further, by the fact that Morgan Rielly, the 4th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, has spent his entire 19 year old season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is likely he would've been traded, but M.J. was robbed of getting future considerations, by Toronto making it clear that he would not be sent down.

Players to Watch:
#18- Brayden Point- 
Leads the team with 44 points in 42 games, in his draft year. He was listed 53rd in the CSS draft ranking released this week and was a injury substitution for the CHL Top Prospect Game on Wednesday. He is on a bit of tear recently with 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 5 games.

#29- Jesse Forseberg: He was traded to the Warriors by Seattle in October for a 3rd round Bantam pick. No love has been lost between him and the Winterhawks, from his time with Seattle and he should add a little chippiness to an East-West battle. He was asked to play a much stronger role in the Warrior's defense as defensive leader and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Travis Brown was traded to Victoria last week. Brown being traded means that no current Warriors players have been drafted in the NHL.

#1- Justin Paulic: Paulic is in his draft year and was recently ranked 13th among North American Goalie prospects. His numbers aren't great at 3.64 GAA and .890 Save %, but he has been playing behind a very young Defense. His numbers were also affected by his last 6 games in which he has given up a total of 24 goals. Paulic had to carry most of the goaltending burden the last couple weeks as 16 year old backup Zach Sawchenko played for Team Pacific at the U-17s.

-Moose Jaw has also been hampered by a lack of scoring, as only 9 skaters have more than 7 points this season.
-Defensemen Dallas Valentine (109) and Alexey Sleptsov (143) were also ranked in the CSS draft rankings.
-Playing in Portland will be the first game of their 5 game U.S. Division stretch over 7 days this week.

Former Winterhawk of the Week: Marian Hossa

Marian Hossa, possibly the most purely talented player to ever put on a Winterhawk;s sweater, had another great week in his attempt to disprove Father Time. After playing a strong role in getting the Blackhawks their second Stanley Cup in 4 years last year and playing in his 4th Stanley Cup Final in 6 years, Hossa has struggled with injuries and other issues this year.

There was some concern last season that Hossa would need off-season back surgery after winning the Cup, but when the news came down that he had opted out of it, most Blackhawks fans had to have their fingers crossed. Then he had a lower body injury in October that forced him to miss 3 games in October, as well as, as family issue that caused him to miss more games in November.

Since returning from these issues though, he has been like the Hossa of 10 years ago. He has 21 points in his last 21 games and now has 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points in 44 total games. Hossa is sitting at 974 career NHL points, meaning that, he could hit the 1,000 point plateau this season. He sits 83rd all time in NHL points and is 7th among active skaters.

Also, the news came down the week before last that Hossa had been named to the 2014 Solvakian Olympic Team, along with his younger brother Marcel. This makes the 4th Olympic games for the elder Hossa. He will try to help the Slovakian squad try to improve on their 4th place finish in 2010.

This week, Hossa started on January 11th by notching a goal in a loss to the Montral Canadiens. Then on January 12th, he celebrated his 35th birthday with a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He finished the week on the 14th with an assist in a loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Yet another career resurgence by Hossa, as well as, the fact that Daniel Alfreddson is still playing at 40 and Martin St. Louis is at 38 means players are able to contribute at a much older age than they used to. The type of shape that professionals like Hossa keep themselves in and the fact that he is playing on a team that will continue to be a Stanley Cup candidate for years to come, means that, barring injury,  Hossa's not retiring anytime soon.

It will be great to see Hossa notch his 1,000th point either this year or next and he has a solid shot at being a Hall of Famer, whenever he chooses to hang up the skates.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hawks History at CHL Top Prospects Game

Chase De Leo was the 20th Portland Winterhawk to play in the CHL Top Prospect Game last night. He notched 4 shots on goal in Team Cherry's 4-3 loss at the hands of Team Orr. Hopefully for Chase, he impressed the many NHL scouts in attendance enough to improve on his ranking of 26th among North American skaters, put out by ISS this week for the 2014 NHL draft.

The game which selects the top 40 players from the WHL, the OHL and the QMJHL, has taken place, in it's current format since 1996. Since that time, Portland's 20 players selected places them 3rd overall in the WHL. Calgary is tops with 26 players selected and Red Deer is 2nd with 23 players. Portland, though, leads the way recently with 13 players having played in just the last 5 years.

Here is the list of the 20 players whom have proudly represented the Winterhawks:
-2014- Chase De Leo.
-2013 (Captain) Seth Jones, Nic Petan, Oliver Bjorkstrand.
-2012- Derrick Pouliot.
-2011- Sven Bartschi, Joe Morrow, Tyler Wotherspoon, (Assistant Captain) Ty Rattie.
-2010- Brad Ross, Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Troy Rutkowski.
-2005- Brendan Mikkelson.
-2004- Michael Funk.
-2003- Braydon Coburn.
-2002- Jakub Klepis.
-2000- Marcel Hossa.
-1998- Jason Labarbera.
-1997- Brenden Morrow.

Sven Bartschi had the best showing in the game by a Winterhawk when he potted 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) for Team Orr in their 7-1 win in 2011.

Two other Winterhawks have scored in the game's history (Petan and Mikkelson), while 12 of the 19 skaters have notched at least 1 point.

Jason Labarbera is still the only Winterhawk goalie to be selected in the game and he stopped all 8 shots he faced back in 1998. He would go on to release his own how to video and of course have a long NHL career.

Impressing the scouts is the main goal of the players selected  to the game and most of the Winterhawks did just that as 10 of the 19 players whom have played in the game were taken in the first round. The lowest drafted Winterhawk, that played in the CHL top prospect game was Troy Rutkowski, who was taken in the 5th round (137th overall) by Colorado in 2010. The highest drafted Winterhawk, not to have been selected for the game was Mike Sauer in 2005, who was taken 40th overall by the New York Rangers. 45 Winterhawks, overall, have been selected in the NHL draft since 2006.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Portland Gets Routed in Back to Back Games vs. Kelowna

The Kelowna Rockets showed why they are now ranked as the top team in the CHL with a 9-3 win Tuesday and a 7-2 win Thursday. The 2 lop sided wins for Kelowna extended their winning streak to 16 games. Their last loss was 4-1 to Victoria on November 20th.

The Rockets also sweep the season series 4-0 with the Winterhawks with a combined goal total of 28-10. That is definitely not want you want against a team you could likely face in the playoffs. Portland was still without Nic Petan, Derrick Pouliot and Taylor Leier at the World Juniors and Brendan Leipsic to his 7 game suspension. They also scratched Shane McColgan on Thursday and word got out that he has left the team and is awaiting a trade. But more on that later.

Tuesday 12/31/13: Kelowna 9@ Portland 3:
-Portland hosted Kelowna for their annual New Year's Eve game. The atmosphere was electric as 10,000 plus fans were in attendance. Surprisingly, the Rockets fed off of the energy not the short handed Hawks. Some poor defensive play in their zone by Hawk's Defensemen and Forwards alike led to the Rockets jumping out to a 5-0 lead midway through the 2nd period. You have to hand it to Kelowna though they capitalized on every mistake or opportunity given to them. They have to be the deepest team in the WHL. Many of their goals were scored on the break with empty nets for their shooters after poor defensive gap control.
-Brendan Burke was pulled from the game and Kelowna native Jarrod Schammerhorn was put in. I would say all but one of the goals were not totally Burke's fault, which could not be said for Thursday's game.
-Alex Schoenborn gave the Hawks a bit of life after Kelowna D-man Jess Lees fanned on a point shot and Schoenborn buried it on a break away. Then Chase De Leo scored utilizing a Oliver Bjorkstrand screen in front during 4 on 4 play. The Hawks had cut the lead to 5-2 and were creating chances.
-That would be as close as they would get though as Madison Bowey scored on a sharp angle, giving the Rockets a 6-2 lead after two periods. This was simply too much for the depleted and young Hawks, as they scored once more (De Leo) but then gave up 3 unanswered as the Rockets gradually took the life out of the celebratory crowd.
-Kelowna out shot Portland 40-32 in the game and Cooke was solid, stopping 29 of 32. Burke stopped 12 of 17 before being pulled. Schammerhorn notched 19 saves on 23 shots in relief.

Jordon Cooke
1/2/14: Kelowna 7 @Portland 2:
-This was the game that hurt more as the Hawks dominated play for large stretches of the first and second period, creating numerous chances that over age Goalie Jordon Cooke was game for. Cooke was just simply much better than Brendan Burke in both games.
-Paul Bittner scored a highlight reel goal in the first, opening the scoring. He has all the talent in the world, combining a big body with decent speed and great hands. He just has to figure out how to put it all together, which will be fun to see over the next couple years.
-After Adam De Champlain hit the post, Jesse Lees scored from the top of the circle on a fairly innocuous shot that seemed to take the wind of of the sails of Brendan Burke. When he is playing with confidence, he is one of the best Goalies in the league, but when he gives up a poor goal, he is a middling if not below average netminder, who sits too far back in his net.
-Ethan Price did notch his 2nd of the season on a break with De Champlain, but Kelowna would use a combination of poor goaltending and the power play to score 6 unanswered for the 7-2 win.
-Myles Bell and Tyson Baile were excellent in the two games. Bell  had 3 goals and 4 assists in the 2 games, while Bailie had 2 goals and 4 assists. They really lead the charge for the rest of the Rockets.
-Bailie and Bell lead the Rockets in points with 46 and 40 apiece. 12 Rockets have at least 19 points though, so the scoring is very balanced.
-Cooke stopped 29 of 31, while Burke stopped 12 of 16 before Schammerhorn came in and stopped 32 of 35. I hope that the Rockets aren't in Burke's head as they have scored 16 goals on him in well under 3 total games.

Up next for the Hawks is a trip to Kennewick, where the short handed Hawks hope to rebound. They are 4-2 vs. the Americans, but 2-0 vs them in Kennewick this year. They were 4-1 @ Tri City last year, as they seem to enjoy playing at the Toyota Center