by Graham Kendrick
March 15, 2014, Portland (ISN) – Oliver Bjorkstrand had a hat trick to reach the 50-goal mark on the season as the Portland Winterhawks (53-13-2-3) earned a 7-0 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds (40-25-2-4) Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in front of 8,019 fans.
Bjorkstrand is the second Hawk in three seasons to reach the 50-goal plateau, after Ty Rattie had 57 in the 2011-12 season. It was also his fourth hat trick of the season.
On the other end of the ice, Brendan Burke earned the shutout in net for the Hawks, his fourth of the season, stopping all 28 Seattle shots he faced.
The Hawks were terrific in the first period as they outshot Seattle 15-4, but the game remained scoreless going into the second.
While they didn’t get the bounces in the first, Portland got four goals in the second period, breaking through 4:23 into the frame when Bjorkstrand put in a rebound for a 1-0 lead. The Hawks scored off a rebound again at the 7:02 mark when Adam Rossignol pounced on a loose puck and put it past netminder Danny Mumaugh for a 2-0 advantage.
Portland struck again at the 10:02 mark when Seattle lost track of Taylor Leier, who took a feed from behind the net and scored his 35th of the season for a 3-0 lead. Late in the period Matt Dumba fired one past Mumaugh to give Portland a 4-0 advantage going into the third.
Portland didn’t let up in the third, as Paul Bittner cashed in on a power play 4:17 into the period for a 5-0 lead. They added to the lead just under two minutes later when Bjorkstrand scored on a wraparound to make it 6-0. He later completed the hat trick and notched number 50 as he made it a 7-0 game.
Portland was 2-7 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks close out the regular season tomorrow when they host the Everett Silvertips at 5 p.m. at the Coliseum. Portland will then open the playoffs with a first round series against the Vancouver Giants beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in the Moda Center.