BY PAUL DAZNER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Winterhawks like what they've seen, including Teddy Bear Toss goal, from 17-year-old defenseman

The Portland Winterhawks believe rookie defenseman John Ludvig has a bright future. He already has a special memory of his time in Portland.

The 17-year-old from Kamloops, British Columbia, scored the goal last Saturday that ended an eight-period scoreless stretch at home — and allowed 9,578 fans to fling 10,908 stuffed animals onto the Memorial Coliseum ice.LUDVIG

"I was almost in shock there," Ludvig says about scoring the annual Teddy Bear Toss goal. "My mind went blank, and everyone was throwing the Teddy bears. It was awesome to see."

It was an awesome moment for the fans, too. They had waited into the third period for the chance to throw their stuffed toys onto the rink. Considering that Portland was up against the WHL's top goalie in Carter Hart, and that the Hawks had played eight consecutive home periods without a goal, it was no certain thing that a Teddy Bear goal would come.

On the same shift that he scored — with a well-placed shot from the left-wing circle off a cross-ice pass from Alex Overhardt — Ludvig had forced Hart to make a save on a shot from the slot.

In addition to his second career goal, the 6-1 Ludvig entertained the fans by fighting with 6-3 Everett 17-year-old defenseman Montana Onyebouchi.

Going into Tuesday's game at Everett, Ludvig had played in 20 of the 30 Winterhawks games and 10 of the last 11 (missing a home game against Vancouver because of illness). He says he has adjusted to the speed of play in the WHL.

"I've been playing more games and building my confidence up," he says. "And offensively I'm really starting to develop my game."

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