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Portland hopes to secure second place heading to WHL Western Conference playoffs

The hope is that Cody Glass, Matt Quigley and Seth Jarvis can return to the Portland Winterhawks lineup before the end of the Western Hockey League regular season on March 17.

Each was listed as "week to week" by Mike Johnston after weekend games at Kelowna. The VP/GM/coach said ideally the injured players can get some game action before the regular-season concludes.

With five games remaining, the Winterhawks are looking to lock up second place in the U.S. Division. That would give Portland home-ice advantage for a first-round playoff series, which is likely to be against Spokane.

Portland plays at Prince George on Friday and Saturday, then has a 7 p.m. Tuesday home game against Everett at Memorial Coliseum.

The 68-game regular season concludes with games on March 16 at Seattle and March 17 at home (also in the coliseum) against the Thunderbirds.

The playoffs will begin the following weekend, on March 22 or 23.

Glass has experienced some nagging discomfort in the knee he injured in late January. The team wants to make sure the star forward is fully healthy before he returns to the lineup, Johnston said.

Glass played in four games after returning from the initial injury. He scored two goals and delivered three assists. He was not in the lineup for the recent three-game weekend.

The injury and commitments, such as the World Juniors tournament, have caused Glass to miss 25 games this season. Still, the Vegas Golden Knights prospect has put up 69 points in 38 games (15 goals, 54 assists). His 1.82 points per game leads the WHL.

Portland's Joachim Blichfeld continues to lead the league in goals (52) and points (107) and is second to Glass in points per game (1.70).

Defenseman Quigley (upper body) has missed the last eight games. Jarvis took a hit in Sunday's game at Kelowna that resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct to the Rockets' Mark Liwiski. As of late Monday, no suspension for Liwiski had been announced by the WHL.

Defenseman Brendan De Jong has returned from an extended injury. He played in two of the three games last weekend as the Hawks went 1-2. The win came in overtime on Saturday at Kelowna.

De Jong played March 1 against Spokane at home and in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Rockets. Johnston said De Jong's availability for the games at Prince George on Friday and Saturday will be determined by how he responds to playing two games and practicing with the team in Canada this week.

At 38-19-3-3 (82 points), the Winterhawks have the second-best record in the U.S. Division and third-best in the Western Conference. Portland was five points up on third-place Spokane entering the Chiefs' Tuesday game with Everett. Spokane is now down to its final six games.

Defenseman Ryan Miley joined Portland last week after the British Columbia Hockey League season ended for his Surrey Eagles team. Miley is the first of a series of prospects expected to spend a little time with the Hawks, but not stay in Portland, when their seasons end. His arrival provided some insurance on defense with Quigley and De Jong sidelined, but the 18-year-old from South Dakota has not yet played in a WHL regular-season game.

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