by: wells

Next: The Hawks open a four-game homestand at 3 p.m. Friday against Spokane, and then will face Swift Current at 5 p.m. Sunday. Both games are at Memorial Coliseum.

• The Winterhawks have gotten improved play of late from 20-year-old forward Charles Wells, who came in a Sept. 20 trade. He had two goals and two assists in last weekend's split at Everett and Seattle.

'He's an experienced player in the league,' Hawks coach/general manager Mike Johnston says. 'At first, I think he was trying to fit in and define a role. But in the last eight to 10 games, he's been quite good and consistent. He's good offensively, and a good penalty killer.'

• Going into Wednesday's game at Tri-City, the Winterhawks were continuing to fire shots at a high clip. Portland had been outshot only once in the last 13 games - and in that game, the Hawks beat Calgary 7-1, with the Flames leading 37-36 in shots. During that stretch, Portland posted 40 or more shots seven times and averaged 10 more shots per game than its opponents.

'If you're going to be a good offensive team, you've got to get pucks to the net on a regular basis,' Johnston says. 'And we've also cut down on our shots against.'

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