Winterhawks: The best sign for Portland three games into its Western Hockey League season is the way it's managed leads late in two of those wins.
Goalie Joel Hofer is a big part of that. The St. Louis Blues prospect stopped 13 of 14 third-period shots in a 4-2 win on Friday at Vancouver, frustrating the Giants in their home opener. Through three games, Hofer has stopped 80 of 86 shots (93 percent) and done a nice job limiting rebounds. Hofer has been particularly sharp during penalty killing situations, and late in games. His goaltending is a big reason Portland has killed 15 of 17 opposing power plays to start the season.
Hofer's play was especially important in the game at Vancouver because Portland had only 15 healthy skaters available in the third period, including just five natural defensemen. Rookie defenseman Kurtis Smythe was injured on his first shirt of the night. Forward Jaydon Dureau took a stick to the mouth in the second period and was at a nearby dentist in the third period. Defenseman Clay Hanus left the game with an undisclosed injury.
The offensive hero of the game at Vancouver was rookie Tyson Kozak, who scored his first two career goals.
Through three games, Portland has had nine players score goals and 15 record a point.
The Hawks' rookie European players are off to encouraging starts. Swiss forward Simon Knak and Danish defenseman Jonas Brondborg each has four assists through three games. Knack also has a goal, and his five points lead the team.
We will know more about this Winterhawks team the next time we see them in Portland, which will be Oct. 19 against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Hawks departed Monday for their swing through the Central Division. Starting Friday at Lethbridge, Portland will play six games over 10 days on the trip.
PSU football: Portland State's conference home opener is 2 p.m. Saturday against Southern Utah at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Vikings trailed by 31 points in the first half last week en route to a 51-24 loss at Idaho State in their Big Sky opener.
Southern Utah figures to be less formidable than the Bengals, who got hot in the air, scoring six times on pass plays. SUU is 1-4 and has given up 39.0 points per game while scoring 22.0. The Thunderbirds lost 24-21 at home to Cal Poly last week.
Portland Marathon: The revamped Portland Marathon is set for Sunday morning, and organizers are still seeking volunteers to assist with the race and related events.
Volunteers can assist at the start/finish line, the bag drop area or as course marshals. Organizers are especially seeking groups who wish to volunteer, according to Portland Marathon CEO Jared Rohatinsky. Groups of volunteers will be compensated and can raise money for their club while assisting the Portland Marathon effort.
More than 5,400 runners and walkers were registered — about 2,100 for the marathon and 3,300 for the half marathon.
Those who have registered can pick up their race packets from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center.
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