Portland Winterhawks Lose, Things Tightening Up For Last Playoff Spots In The East

Image Credit - Chris Mast

With three games left, the best shot at a victory was when the Portland Winterhawks faced off against the Vancouver Giants. Early in the first period Ty Halaburda stole the puck in the Hawks zone beating Jan Spunar.

The scoreless second period was broken up in the third when Vancouver scored again on a give-and-go in the zone.

Then finally, the Hawks came to life.

Portland scored twice in the third period, first by Robbie Fromm-Delorme on the powerplay four minutes after Vancouver’s second goal, and then Diego Buttazoni out front with a rocket to tie the game and send it to overtime.

It was almost DeJa’Vu when with just seconds left in overtime, Vancouver’s Halaburda got his second goal of the game.

Vancouver takes it 3 to 2 in overtime. Shots heavily favored Portland 39-18, powerplays saw Portland 1-6, and Vancouver blanked on three tries.

It’s hard to think that the final two games of the regular season would have that much implication. Currently, the Eastern Division has a logjam for the last two playoff spots. With two games left, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Three teams are vying for two spots.

Calgary at 68 points, Medicine Hat at 67 points, and Swift Current at 64 points still have an outside shot at making the postseason. Even if they don’t make it, Calgary and Medicine Hat could flip spots as well, so this is anyone’s game.

The final game between Edmonton at Calgary may be the one on Sunday to settle the final placings.

Here are the matchups; as you can see, they will go down to the wire. Friday will see Medicine Hat travel to Swift Current, and Saturday will see Calgary travel to Edmonton, with Swift Current traveling to Medicine Hat. Edmonton visits Calgary on Sunday at noon.

The other games are technically meaningless as they have no bearing on any standings, but it will be helpful for some to add their stats.

The Hawks signed yet another player from the Team Rattie team during the Neely Cup. Kade Ruedig has signed a standard WHL contract with the team. Portland has also recalled Carsyn Dyck for the remainder of the season and playoffs to the active roster.

Portland now plays home against Seattle on Friday, March 24, at the VMC, and then the Saturday, March 25 game at 6pm will air on CW 32.

Everett visits Portland to start their series on Friday, March 31.

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About Stuart Kemp 313 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.