Most people wouldn’t peg Portland as a hockey city, and while it’s not Detroit, they have a pretty good history with the sport. The Winterhawks of the WHL, a junior league, have been in the city since 1976 when they moved from Edmonton. I have been before, but never in the Moda Center.
Veterans Coliseum isn’t a terrible location. It’s a bit older, a bit smaller, but perfect for junior hockey. The Moda Center really brought some gravity to the situation, as it felt like more of an NHL style game, hint hint. It is a great spot for the sport, and you can’t beat the seats we had.
The game did not disappoint either. It was a must win for the Winterhawks, as they were fighting for a playoff spot, and against a formidable opponent in the Prince George Cougars. The Cougars are sitting atop the B.C. Division, a full 13 points above the Winterhawks who sit at 76.
As I said this was a back and forth affair. The Winterhawks opened the scoring, but fell behind pretty quick, with two goals in a five minute span. However, they fought back equalizing before the end of the first period.
The second opened with a quick Power-Play goal from the Cougars, which kind of deflated the crowd. Half way through the frame, Winterhawks Captain Keegan Iverson, scored to bring things level once more and the crowd was right back into it.
The third period was the perfect cap to the game. The Winterhawks came out blazing with two goals before the halfway mark of the period. The Cougars were not about to lay down and call it night. They netted their fourth goal just 35 seconds after the Winterhawks scored their fifth. Despite some trepidation amongst the faithful, it ended in a 5-4 Winterhawks victory.
It was nice to go to the Moda Center and not have to wait in line at every bathroom and concession stand, or fight with major crowds to get out of there. It was also nice to go to a junior game again. I grew up near the now defunct Plymouth Whalers, never forget, and used to go quite a bit. There’s just something about junior games.
The fans seem to be more excited and into it, the guys are all between 16 and 21, and playing for the pros, or have already been drafted and looking to succeed. Very rarely do you see them taking shifts off or just coasting. Plus its a place where you’ll still see some fights and guys putting everything on the line. A great game for my first one in awhile.