Some encouraging signs for Winterhawks
Winterhawks: It's hard to read much into early-season junior hockey results, but Saturday's 4-2 win over Seattle in their home opener at Moda Center had to feel good for the Hawks.
It was their first win and followed a frustrating shootout loss at Tri-City on Friday.
Portland was good overall on special teams — 5 of 14 on the power play and 11 of 12 on the penalty kill. At Kennewick, though, Portland couldn't convert a 5-on-3 advantage in overtime — after relinquishing a two-goal lead in the third period.
Early impressions: Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld are turning any disappointment over being back in the WHL into production. Glass had six assists (five of them primary) in his first two games. In his four games, Blichfeld had three goals and five assists.
The defense is a work in progress, no surprise since Portland is replacing its top three blueliners from last season.
Other encouraging signs: Reece Newkirk scored three times over the weekend (and had a goal waved off), Jake Gricius had two goals over the weekend, and defenseman Jared Freadrich appears to be a good fit for the Hawks (he had a goal and five assists through four games).
PSU football: Before the season, if you took a first glance at Portland State's schedule, your eyes may have gone right to a three-game stretch — vs. Montana State on Sept. 22, at Idaho on Sept. 29, and at Montana on Oct. 6. Not an easy way to start the Big Sky campaign.
Two-thirds of the way through, PSU is 0-2 in conference and about to visit the unfriendly confines of Missoula for Saturday's 1 p.m. PT game against what appears to be a resourceful, if not overwhelming, Grizzies team.
Montana (4-1) no longer ranks as an FCS title contender, but the Griz were 17th and 18th in last week's national polls. They are still a winning and proud program, and they are 2-0 in the Big Sky after edging Sacramento State 41-34 in their opener and winning at winless Cal Poly last Saturday (although only 48-28).
Portland State (1-4) has lost 12 consecutive Big Sky games dating to 2016 and has struggled this year to get into the end zone. The Viks have three touchdowns in two conference games, and for the season they have posted only three TDs not scored by star tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, who is nursing a hamstring injury.
So the Viks not only need to slow Montana's offense but also get more from a variety of their own offensive players.
The Grizzlies' defense includes 6-3, 235-pound linebacker Dante Olson, a junior from Cascade Christian High who made 24 tackles against Cal Poly. And sophomore receiver Samori Toure from Westview High is third in receptions with 18 for 144 yards and one touchdown.
NWC football: Lewis & Clark will play its homecoming game at 1 p.m. Saturday against Puget Sound on the heels of a big Wagon Wheel trophy win (39-21) at Willamette. The Pioneers are 1-0 in the Northwest Conference, 2-1 overall, and now own back-to-back wins over the Bearcats for the first time since 1991-92. UPS hasn't lost to L&C since 2013, and the Loggers are 3-1 after their 28-21 overtime win last week against Pacific Lutheran.
College soccer: The University of Portland women split their first two WCC matches, winning 4-1 at San Diego (with three goals from Taryn Ries) and losing 3-0 at BYU. The Pilots (8-4 overall) are home at 7 p.m. Friday against Saint Mary's and 1 p.m. Sunday against Pacific.
Blazers: For what it's worth, Portland is 0-1 in exhibition play going into a 7 p.m. Friday game at Phoenix. Then it'll be down to three exhibition home games before the regular season begins: 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Utah, Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix and Oct. 12 vs. Sacramento.