(ISN) – Oliver Gabriel registered his second hat trick of the season as the Portland Winterhawks (49-19-3-1) wrapped up the regular season Sunday with an 8-2 win against the Seattle Thunderbirds (25-45-1-1) in front of 7,942 fans at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Gabriel’s three-goal game was the 13th hat trick of the season by a Winterhawks player, and the win gives Portland 102 points on the season. They play the Kelowna Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, which open Friday at 7 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Seattle opened the scoring with a power play goal from Shea Theodore 4:06 into the game, but the Hawks answered just 11 seconds later on a goal by Ty Rattie to even the game at 1-1.
Portland then took a lead at the 9:51 mark when defenseman Troy Rutkowski scored on a power play to make it 2-1. Then at the 18:29 mark with the Hawks killing a penalty, Rattie forced a turnover at the Portland blue line and raced into Seattle’s end on a breakaway, beating Thunderbirds netminder Calvin Pickard to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead going into the second period.
Seattle got to within one when Burke Gallimore scored at 7:45 mark to make it 3-2, but Portland responded with three unanswered goals through the period. The Hawks scored just under two minutes after Gallimore’s goal when Gabriel scored to put Portland back up by two, 4-2. The Hawks then went up 5-2 when Derrick Pouliot scored during four-on-four play at the 12:27 mark, and with 2.9 seconds left in the second Joey Baker scored to make it 6-2 going into the third.
The Hawks extended the lead to 7-2 just 23 seconds into the third period when Gabriel scored his second of the game, and then he completed the hat trick at the 3:17 mark with a power play goal to make it 8-2.
Brendan Burke got the win in net for Portland, making 29 saves on 31 shots. The Hawks were 2-6 on the power play and 1-2 on the penalty kill.
Keegan Iverson made his WHL debut in the win. The Hawks signed the Minnesota high school player earlier in the day.
Prior to the game, the Hawks handed out their annual team awards. Ty Rattie took home both the leading scorer award and the Donald D. Ickes Memorial Award for fan favorite. Jason Trott won the Bill Anderson Memorial Trophy for Character & Ability, while Taylor Peters won the Robert R. Boss Award for Best Defensive Player. Peters also shared the Scholastic Player of the Year with defenseman Derrick Pouliot. The Rookie of the Year Award was split between two players, with Chase De Leo and Nic Petan sharing the honor. And finally, the team MVP, as voted by his teammates, was Sven Bartschi.