WINTERHAWKS: Shuffling continues going into 3-game B.C. weekend
The Portland Winterhawks are still a team in transition, but the pieces are coming together bit by bit for a second-half run.
It's been a midseason of comings and goings for the Hawks, and the adjustments continued Friday. Before the Western Hockey League trade deadline hit at 11 a.m. PT, Portland traded goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a seventh-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
That leaves Brendan Burke, the Hawks' No. 1 goalie before his recent injury, and new acquisition Corbin Boes between the pipes.
Adin Hill, 17, who made 28 saves to win his WHL debut 4-1 Wednesday at Everett, is going back to his Junior A team, coach/general manager Mike Johnston says.
Boes will start Friday night at Victoria as the Winterhawks open a big, two-game series, and a three-game British Columbia weekend, on the Royals' ice.
Burke "should be ready sometime on the weekend," Johnston says. "He skated today for the first time since his injury."
The back line is still awaiting the arrival of Mathew Dumba, who is coming back to juniors from the NHL Minnesota Wild.
Dumba is not likely to make it before Sunday night's game at Vancouver, as he gets healthy at home in Calgary.
"I will talk to him tomorrow," Johnston says, "and we'll take a look at what makes sense going forward."
Dumba picked up a virus at the world junior championships in Malmo, Sweden, and "he's lost 10 to 12 pounds," Johnston says.
Up front, the Hawks are whole again with the return of Nic Petan and Taylor Leier from the world juniors.
They were teammates of Dumba and Portland D-man Derrick Pouliot on Canada's tourney squad.
Petan, Leier and Brendan Leipsic, who has completed a seven-game WHL suspension, have played one game with the Winterhawks in 2014 the Wednesday win at Everett.
After this weekend, Petan, Leier and Leipsic will return to their respective homes in Canada for a few days of R&R before rejoining Portland for its next game, Jan. 17 at home against Moose Jaw.
"It's going to take them a little while" to get back to playing as efficiently together as they had been in the WHL, Johnston says.
The Victoria games will match two of the WHL Western Conference leaders.
The Royals recently beat shorthanded Portland 3-2 at Memorial Coliseum and downed the Hawks 3-2 in November.
"Victoria has played well against us," Johnston says.
Victoria (28-14-0-2) has a two-point lead, 58-56, in points over Portland (26-12-2-2).
The Royals trail B.C. Division leader Kelowna (33-5-0-2) by 10 points, though, while the Hawks have a three-point U.S. Division edge on Seattle (24-14-2-3) and are four points ahead of Spokane (25-13-5-1) and Everett (23-13-5-1).
Portland had won only three times in nine outings before Wednesday.
Boes has WHL seasoning. He was 5-14-2-2 this season with Lethbridge, with a 4.11 goals against average and .900 save percentage in 35 games.
Boes spent three previous seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, appearing in 117 regular-season games and posting season goals-against averages of 3.76 in 2012-13, 2.84 in 2011-12 and 3.44 in 2010-11. His combined record with Brandon was 46-45-3-11.
"He's a 20-year-old with good experience in the league," Johnston says.
In the 2011 and 2012 WHL playoffs with the Wheat Kings, Boes played in a total of 14 games, going 5-9-0-0.
He was a 2008 bantam draft pick (10th round) of Portland in 2008.
He's also big 6-3 and 225 pounds.