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Winter Hawks

by: , LANGWIEDER

Next: After going 0-2 and being outscored 15-3 combined at Kamloops and Vancouver, the Winter Hawks open their home schedule versus Kelowna (7:30 p.m. Saturday) and Kamloops (5 p.m. Sunday) at Memorial Coliseum.

The trip: 'Not a lot to be encouraged about. There were times where we played well and young players showed bright signs,' says coach Mike Williamson, summing up the first two games. 'Our work ethic as a team has to improve immensely. Our total game, including special teams, needs a lot of work.'… Defensemen Michael Sauer and Cameron Cepek and forward Frazer McLaren scored at Kamloops. Kurtis Mucha gave up six goals on 32 shots at Kamloops, and Dustin Butler gave up nine on 44 shots at Vancouver.

Tribune player of week: Defenseman Stefan Langwieder, a 19-year-old import from Germany, assisted Sauer on a pretty pass for Portland's first goal of the season and showed a competitive zeal in both games. 'He competes extremely hard and brings a lot of maturity and leadership,' Williamson says. 'He took the losses hard, and competed to the end. When Vancouver went on its scoring sprees, he battled harder and harder.'

Obstruction whatever: The WHL officials' desire to open up offenses by calling more penalties sure manifested itself in the Hawks' two games. Portland had 19 power-play opportunities and 28 against, giving up six goals. The refs have been instructed to call obstruction penalties 'and I think the standard will stay relatively the same. … There'll be some tough nights (penaltywise), but it'll increase scoring,' Williamson says. … The rugged McLaren got whistled for eight minor penalties and also got into three scraps, totaling 31 minutes. 'He played quite well, but he hasn't adjusted well to the rules,' Williamson says.

-Jason Vondersmith