Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Kootenay – Game #20

Bryan Heim

Portland (15-4-0-0) at Kootenay (10-12-1-0)  – 6:00 p.m. PST – Western Financial Place


The Winterhawks take on the Kootenay Ice for their lone matchup with the Ice this regular season. Portland enters the game winners of their last six games. The Hawks lost 3-2 to the Ice last year in Portland. This is the first game of six straight contests against teams from the Central Division for the Winterhawks.

PREVIOUS GAME: Winterhawks 3 vs. Regina 1: The Winterhawks picked up their 6th straight win with a 3-1 victory over the Regina Pats on Saturday night.

The Winterhawks (15-4-0-0) got on the board first with a goal from Cody Glass, 3:46 into the first period. Sam Steel of the Pats (12-9-2-0) responded with a goal to tie the game, 1-1. Late into the period, the Hawks would jump ahead 2-1 with a goal from Skyler McKenzie, his 16th of the season. On the goal, Cody Glass would pick up his 100th career assist in the WHL.

The game would remain scoreless until late in the third period when Kieffer Bellows buried an empty-net goal to give the Hawks a 3-1 victory over the Pats.

Goaltender Cole Kehler made 27 saves for his 13th win of the season. The Winterhawks improved to 15-4-0-0 on the season and are 1st in the U.S. Division.

TODAY’S OPPONENT:  The Kootenay Ice have gotten off to a decent start to this season. The Ice are 10-12-1-0 and sit second in the Central Division. The team is being led offensively by newly named captain, Colton Kroeker. Kroeker is in his 2nd season with Kootenay and leads the team with 19 points. You’ll also notice a familiar face upfront for the Ice in Colton Veloso. The 6’2” forward spent the last two years with Portland and has seven goals on the season with Kootenay.

The Ice made a splash recently by trading away defenseman Cale Fleury. The Ice received several draft picks in the move, but the key piece was defenseman Jonathan Smart. Smart is with his third team in three years in the WHL, and has put up reasonable offensive stats from the backend; he has 13 points in 23 games this year.

In net, Kootenay has decided to go young. Rookies Bailey Brkin and Duncan McGovern have taken the starting role for the Ice. Brkin has played in 13 games and has a 4.35 GAA, while McGovern has made six appearances and sports a 2.41 GAA.

WINTERHAWKS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Cody Glass has five multi-point efforts in his last six games. His 32 points on the year are first on the Hawks and tied for 11th in the WHL.

Defenseman Henri Jokiharju has points in three straight games and has 16 points in his last 12 contests. He is currently tied for 3rd in the WHL in points among defenseman.

As a team, the Hawks have allowed just seven goals in six games in the month of November. Much of that success is due to the solid play of Cole Kehler. The 6’4” netminder has won his last six starts and has allowed two or less goals in 11 of his 15 starts this season.

STAT OF THE DAY: Kootenay is one of just three teams in the WHL the Winterhawks have a .500 or better road record against.

Here’s how the two teams played head-to-head last season:

Winterhawks: 0-1-0-0                   Ice: 1-0-0-0

Last Year’s Season Series:

Kootenay 3 @ Portland 2 (Dec 3rd 2016) Final

The Hawks are on the road for their next six games as part of their season long Central Division swing. You can catch all the action at or on the Winterhawks App. Portland returns home on Sunday, December 3rd against the Saskatoon Blades at the Moda Center. Get your tickets HERE!

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