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New foes, same style for Winterhawks

How do the Portland Winterhawks prepare for Memorial Cup games this week against Halifax, London and host Saskatoon?

Prepare themselves first, watch plenty of video and adjust in the first period.

"We've got to take every game as a Game 7," Portland forward Brendan Leipsic says, as the Winterhawks get ready to face Halifax at 4 p.m. PT Saturday. "It's a bit of a different animal, but I think we're ready."

The Western Hockey League champion Hawks, who haven't seen Halifax or London on the ice, are confident in their team and their style — speed, skill, puck possession, an excellent defensive top four and veteran goalie Mac Carruth.

"We're confident in playing our style," Leipsic says. "It obviously won us a championship. The way we play, we think we can win the Memorial Cup."

Says Portland forward Taylor Leier: "Our speed is lethal. We opened up Edmonton's defense a lot. They couldn't keep up with us. We'll just wear (teams) down."

Without knowing the teams (the Hawks beat Saskatoon 4-0 there on Oct. 10), what does coach Travis Green believe to be Portland's advantage?

"It's hard to say," he says. "We'll spend (time) pre-scouting, but our preparation as far as our game hasn't changed a whole lot all year.

"It's no secret that our team plays with a lot of speed, and we try to manage the puck. We have a strong compete rate and high work ethic."