The Portland Winterhawks are two wins away from heading to round three, but getting to that point thus far hasn’t been easy.
Due to Graduation ceremonies held at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, the Hawks had to travel to Kent to face the Thunderbirds on a Saturday night.
There is no question that the Hawks did not have a solid first period. Midway through it, Jared Davidson scored for the Thunderbirds and kept it that way for the rest of the period.
The Winterhawks got on the board just before the midway point of the second period and added to the lead with a goal by James Stefan before the fifteen-minute mark.
With a minute left in the period, Matthew Rempe tallied one for the Thunderbirds and tied the game heading to the third period.
With less than four minutes left in the third period, Clay Hanus capped off a play in the Thunderbirds zone while on the powerplay to give the Hawks a one-goal lead.
Robbie Fromm-Delorme picked off a pass in the Winterhawks zone and fired it out of the Hawks’ end and into the empty net by the Thunderbirds with 12 seconds left to complete the scoring at 4-2 Winterhawks.
Shots were led by Seattle 25-24, and many of those were highlight-reel saves by Taylor Gauthier. Powerplays saw Portland go 1-4 and Seattle 0 for 1.
The next night the series headed back for the start of two games in Portland.
Another defensive effort as both teams got quality shots on the goaltenders as quality shots were taken, but none went in.
That changed near the midway of the first period as Lucas Ciona was able to get one past Taylor Gauthier to put the Thunderbirds up by one. Just past the midway point of the second period, Tyson Kozak finally put one past Thomas Milic in the Seattle goal to even up the score. Cross Hanas had a penalty shot after he was mauled entering the Seattle zone but failed to score, leaving the game tied at 1
The teams traded shots back and forth and couldn’t find the back of the net. Seattle was awarded a powerplay and had a few chances but saw the Hawks force the puck out, and Jaydon Dureau took the first shot, which was saved by Milic. After the puck was saved, Dureau fished it out and looked like he was taking another shot, but instead quickly passed to Gabe Klassen, who fired the puck into the open cage. The Hawks’ first lead of the game was also the final score as the Hawks escaped with a 2-1 win and now lead the series 2-0. Portland outshot Seattle 31-29.
Game three with the series will be Wednesday, with a game in Kent Friday. If further games are needed, they would be Saturday and Tuesday in Portland and Monday in Kent.
In other series, Kamloops has a 2-0 edge on Vancouver after winning 3-1 and then 4-3. Edmonton took a 4-0 win and then a 5-0 win for a 2-0 series lead. Winnipeg took a 6-1 and then 7-0 wins over Moose Jaw and leads 2-0 in their series.