Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brad Ross, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)...

Kelowna hockey fans are in for a treat with the resurgent Portland Winterhawks in town for a Friday night tilt against the Rockets at Prospera Place.

The trio of Brad Ross, Nino Neiderreiter and Ryan Johansen are all eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in June. Neiderreiter and Johansen are WHL rookies while Ross is in his second full season. As a forward line combination, they have been consistent offensive contributors on the much improved Winterhawks, a team that looks like a legitimate threat for a deep playoff run this coming spring. And by the way, the "kids" are not even Portland's first line!

Here are the numbers through Jan. 14:

Ross...22 goals, 27 assists, 49 points, 45 games, +18, 121 pim's

Neiderreiter...25g, 18a, 43p, 39 games, +7, 58 pim's

Johansen...16g, 29a, 45p, 39 games, +9, 27 pim's

Neidereitter was the WHL's rookie scoring leader before he left the 'Hawks in mid-December for the World Junior Championship, where he was outstanding in leading Switzerland to a fourth place finish.

Johansen, who played for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL last season, has been selected to play in the 2010 Top Prospects Game in Windsor, Ontario next week.

Ross, the younger brother of former Regina Pats/Kamloops Blazers/Vancouver Giants defenceman Nick Ross, has been on the outside looking in as far as the Top Prospects Game and international play are concerned. However, all the Lethbridge, Alberta native has done is lead the 'Hawks in both scoring and penalty minutes so far this season.

We spoke with Ross today before the team went for a skate on their off-day in Kelowna.

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