Travis Green, it seems, will be the man in Portland for the duration of this season.
Green began the season as the Winterhawks’ assistant general manager/assistant coach. He has been the interim GM/head coach since Nov. 28, which is when the WHL suspended Mike Johnston for the remainder of this season, including the playoffs.
You will recall that the Winterhawks, who were convicted of what most observers felt were minor rules violations, also were banned from the first five rounds of the 2013 bantam draft, lost first-round draft picks in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and were fined $200,000.
The WHL held meetings in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday, during which the Winterhawks, with owner Bill Gallacher in attendance, made their case for some relief.
While there hasn’t yet been an announcement, I am told that there will be some relief, but none of it will involve the sentence handed to Johnston.
The Winterhawks apparently offered up apologies for what had transpired and expressed contriteness, all of which is expected to result in the reduction of some penalties but not Johnston’s reinstatement, not even for the playoffs.
Since Johnston was forced by the WHL to leave the team, the Winterhawks are 23-4-2, including last night’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen.
Still, the Winterhawks lead the WHL’s overall standings, by five points over the Kelowna Rockets and six over the Edmonton Oil Kings, are the only WHL team with a winning percentage above .800 (.824), and are the No. 1 team in the CHL’s weekly rankings.
Having started a stretch of four games in five nights last night with a 5-0 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets, the Spokane Chiefs have added D Adam Power to their roster. He had been with the junior B Spokane Braves, who play in the Kootenay International Junior League. Power, 17, is from Post Falls, Idaho. He had one assist in eight games with the Chiefs earlier this season. . . . The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has two goals in nine games with the Braves
The Regina Pats, with a number of players out with injuries, have brought in D Sean Whelan, 18, from the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. Whelan, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, has four points in 30 games with the Klippers. Whelan, from Moose Jaw, is to turn 19 on Monday. He was an 11th-round selection by the Pats in the 2009 bantam draft.
The Everett Silvertips, with eight players on the injury list, have added G Adam Todd, 18, D Kevin Davis, 15, and F Kyle Raymond, 16, to their roster, at least for tonight’s game in Kamloops against the Blazers. . . . Todd, who played 11 games with the Saskatoon Blades last season, has been with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. He will fill in for injured G Austin Lotz (ankle) and back up G Daniel Cotton. . . . The Silvertips had G Nik Amundrud, 15, with them for a bit, but he has been returned to the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans. . . . Davis, who is from Kamloops and plays for the major midget Thompson Blazers, already has played four games with Everett this season. He was the 11th overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Raymond has been brought in from the junior B Princeton, B.C., Posse of the Kootenay International Junior League.
What kind of a season has it been for the Everett Silvertips? Well, perhaps this note from Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald sums it up: “There’s been a revelation about defenceman Austin Adam. Adam has been out an extended period with lingering concussion symptoms. However, it was discovered that Adam has mononucleosis, and the mono may have been the cause of those symptoms. Of course, having mono means Adam will remain out for a while, but hopefully that means the concussion wasn't as severe as it appeared.”
Now that last night’s games are out of the way, folks can focus on the upcoming doubleheader in Kelowna between the Rockets (40-11-4) and Portland Winter hawks (43-8-3). . . . They’ll play Friday and Saturday nights in Kelowna. . . . Both teams lost last night, the Winterhawks falling 4-3 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen and the Rockets losing 5-0 to the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Rockets and Winterhawks haven’t met since Sept. 28 and 29 when they played a doubleheader in Portland. The Winterhawks won the opener 1-0 behind 31 saves from G Cam Lanigan, who now is with the Medicine Hat Tigers, and a goal from D Derrick Pouliot, who now is injured. The Rockets took the second game, 4-3, on F Zach Franko’s goal at 19:01 of the third period.
In Spokane, the Chiefs won the 1,000th game in franchise history, dropping the Kelowna Rockets, 5-0. . . . Kelowna had been 17-0-2 in its previous 19 outings. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 33 shots in earning his third shutout this season and the fifth of his career. . . . F Todd Fiddler scored his 36th goal and added two assists for the Chiefs, while F Mike Aviani scoed No. 24 and added two assists. . . . Chiefs D Brenden Kichton scored his 17th goal and added an assist. He is tied with Portland’s Troy Rutkowski for the goal lead among defencemen, and has the outright lead in assists (45) and points (62). . . .
In Portland, the Calgary Hitmen erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 42 shots. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic took over the WHL goal-scoring lead, with his 37th, which gave his side a 3-1 lead at 17:30 of the second period. . . . F Ty Rattie had scored his 30th goal just 14 seconds earlier, via the PP. . . . Calgary captain Cody Sylvester scored 56 seconds into the third period, with F Brooks Macek tying the score at 6:57. . . . Sylvester won it with his 28th goal at 18:28. . . . Sylvester also had an assist. . . . Portland F Nic Petan, the WHL scoring leader, had one assist. . . . The Hitmen, who are five games into a nine-game road trip, had lost their last three games, the last two by shutout. . . . A tweet from Portland freelance writer Scott Sepich: “With the 4-3 win, @WHLHitmen have won 4 straight in Portland. Former Hawks coach Mike Williamson 2-0 with Hitmen in PDX.” . . . Portland D Troy Rutkowski set a franchise record by playing in his 222nd consecutive game. The previous record had been held by D Andrew Ference (1994-99). . . .
In Brandon, F John Quenneville’s eighth goal broke a 1-1 tie and the Wheat Kings went on to a 4-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Axel Blomqvist pulled Lethbridge into a 1-1 tie at 19:46 of the first period. . . . Quenneville broke that tie at 15:52 of the second. . . . F Jens Meilleur scored twice for Brandon, giving him nine, while linemate Taylor Cooper had a goal and two assists and Tim McGauley, the third skater on the line, had three assists. . . . Brandon G Curtis Honey stopped 36 shots. . . . With G Corbin Boes (knee) out of action, the Wheat Kings have brought back Jordan Papirny from the midget AAA Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club Southgate Lions to back up Honey. . . . The Wheat Kings pulled into an 11th-place tie with the idle Regina Pats in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are nine points out of a playoff spot. . . .
In Saskatoon, F Michael Ferland scored the game’s first two goals and the Blades went on to a 7-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . With the victory, their sixth in a row, the Blades moved to within four points of the East Division-leading Raiders. . . . Ferland scored twice in 1:57 late in the first period and the Blades put it away with two goals 22 seconds apart in the opening minute of the second period. . . . F Shane McColgan scored 31 seconds into the period and F Matej Stransky made it 4-0 at 0:53. . . . Ferland has eight goals, McColgan has 12 and Stransky 28. . . . Blades F Brenden Walker, playing in his 250th regular-season game, had three assists. . . . Saskatoon G Andrey Makarov, making his 13th straight start, stopped 30 shots. . . .
In Prince George, the Red Deer Rebels scored twice in the circus and beat the Cougars, 4-3. . . . Red Deer G Patrik Bartosak made 50 saves through OT. . . . Rebels F Christian Stockl tied the game 3-3 with his third goal of the season at 10:10 of the third. . . . F Rhyse Dieno and F Dominik Volek scored the shootout goals to win it. . . . Cougars F Zach Pochiro scored twice, giving him 10, and added an assist. . . . D Jordan Harris, the 10th pick in the 2011 bantam draft, was in the Cougars’ lineup. He joined them from the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos a few weeks ago but was out with post-concussion syndrome. . . . D Mark McNulty was back in Prince George’s lineup after missing eight games with what is believed to have been a concussion. . . . The loser point lifted the Cougars to within three points of Seattle, which holds down eighth place in the Western Conference. . . . Red Deer is fourth in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of Saskatoon. . . . When the Rebels travelled into the U.S. Division earlier in the season, they weren’t able to play the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent) because the arena was booked for an ice show. So the Rebels now are on a three-game road swing. They opened last night in Prince George, will travel to Kent today and play the Thunderbirds there on Friday, and then will meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Saturday. . . .
In Victoria, F Jamie Crooks scored twice as the Royals beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . One night earlier, the Royals also beat the Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . The Royals were without F Alex Gogolev, their leading scorer, who suffered a skate cut to a leg in Tuesday’s game. . . . Crooks has 26 goals. . . . It was a five-point night for Victoria’s Walker boys, with Ben getting his 14th goal and adding two assists, and Jack drawing two assists. . . . The Royals are tied with Spokane for fifth in the Western Conference, a point behind the Tri-City Americans.
F Colten Mayor, Calgary
F Tim Traber, Victoria
TWEET OF THE DAY:
From Portland Winterhawks D Derrick Pouliot (@dpouliot51): “Off to Pittsburgh for a few days.”
Pouliot is rehabbing a high-ankle sprain. He has played one game since Jan. 11 and only four since Dec. 18. He was a first-round selection, eighth overall, by the Penguins in the NHL’s 2012 draft. He has 38 points and is plus-31 in 39 games with Portland.
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