Portland Winterhawks Drop Two Straight To Seattle As Season Winds Down

In both games, the Portland Winterhawks held tight in the first period, only to see the Seattle Thunderbirds use their recently acquired talents at the trade deadline to take the games away. 

The first game was tied at the end of one after Seattle opened the scoring very early in the contest. Initially, the goal judge didn’t see the puck; a video review showed it was a goal. Portland was assessed a delay of game penalty when challenging; this was an offsides play which was denied. Robbie Fromm-Delorme scored just under four minutes later, and the teams took the deadlock to the dressing room. 

Searrle scored very early in the second and added another six minutes later. Josh Zareski scored at 15:35, but Seattle regained the two-goal lead just over three minutes later. 

On a power play,  Seattle scored less than a minute again into the third to seal the fate of the Hawks. Portland sent Jan Spunar on the next following the goal and was a perfect seven for seven in shots.  Seattle outshot Portland 30 to 21, and each team scored once on the powerplay, with six tries for Portland versus five for the Thunderbirds. 

The night in Portland was celebrating the retirement of Cam Neely’s jersey. Both teams switched starters, with Milic for Seattle and Spunar for Portland. 

After a scoreless first period, Seattle scored shorthanded and then again hit the scoresheet ten minutes later to take the lead after 40 minutes. 

Robbie Fromm-Delorme scored 11 seconds into the third while on the powerplay and tied the game just over five minutes later with a marker by Jack O’Brien.  

Seattle’s Kyle Crnkovic scored with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, and his second of the night into the empty net spoiled the retirement ceremony. 

Seattle again outshot Portland 37 to 28, but it was Portland with the only powerplay goal on the night. The three advantages of Seattle were dwarfed by the five from the Winterhawks. 

The Hawks raised  Cam Neely’s jersey to the rafters on Saturday, March 18, and in doing so, have retired 21 permanently. Three other Winterhawks from the 1983 Memorial Cup team, Neely, Grant Sasser, Randy Heath, and Ken Yaremchuk, were entered into the Portland Winterhawks Hall of Fame and had their names added to the banner at the VMC.

After getting close to the end of the regular season, the Western Conference has its matches confirmed. Portland will now host Everett.

Seattle will host Kelowna. Kamloops will take home ice against Vancouver Giants, and Tri-City will travel to Prince George as the Cougars host for the first time in years. 

The Eastern Conference isn’t ultimately settled. Hosts have been resolved with Winnipeg, Red Deer, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw. What hasn’t yet is who Winnipeg and Red Deer might face. Swift Current has an outside shot at the last seed if Medicine Hat loses their three remaining games. Currently, the Tigers are three points up on the Broncos. Then there is Calgary Hitmen. One point up on the Tigers, they, too, could be bounced if they lose the final three games. 

Connor Bedard from the Regina Pats was the WHL Player of the Week after collecting 17 points in 4 games. 

The Pats captured a  playoff spot with 72 points but will have to visit Moose Jaw Warriors in the only matchup for the Eastern Division that is currently confirmed. Even though they have an unbelievable star in Connor, who is expected to go number one in the June NHL draft, they are coming into the playoffs with a 5-4 1 record in their past 10 games. 

The Winterhawks released the playoff schedule with Everett.  The first two games in Portland will be on March 31 and April 1. Everett hosts on April 3 and then on April 7. If further games are needed, they will play on April 8 in Portland and then in Everett on Monday, April 10, and in Portland on Tuesday, April 11, if necessary. 

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About Stuart Kemp 364 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.