(ISN) – The Portland Winterhawks (42-23-2-4) fell 6-3 in Seattle Saturday against the Thunderbirds (38-25-4-5) in the Hawks’ final road game of the regular season.
With the result of this game, and Everett picking up a point in their game against Victoria, it means the Hawks will finish second in the U.S. Division and take on the Thunderbirds in the first round of the playoffs. That series will get underway with Game 1 next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Hawks got off to a fast start when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 59th goal of the season just 38 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead. Seattle responded with goals from Ryan Gropp and Cory Millette as they took a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Seattle made it 3-1 when Gropp scored his second of the game 4:31 into the second, followed by a goal from Jared Hauf at 6:16 for a 4-1 advantage. The Hawks cut the deficit in half at 13:03 when Bjorkstrand fired a slapshot past goaltender Logan Flodell for his second of the game to make it 4-2. It was Bjorkstrand’s 60th goal of the season, making him the first Hawk to hit the 60-goal mark since Lonny Bohonos had 62 in 1993-94.
It remained 4-2 until the 12:50 mark of the third, when Bjorkstrand was hauled down on a breakaway while shorthanded. He was awarded a penalty shot and beat Flodell to cap the hat trick and cut the deficit to 4-3. But just 21 seconds later Seattle went back up by two when Jerret Smith scored on the same power play to put Seattle up 5-3.
Late in the third with Adin Hill on the bench for an extra attacker, Seattle’s Shea Theodore scored into the empty net for a 6-3 win.
With his hat trick, Bjorkstrand all but locked up the league scoring titles in both goals (61) and overall points (115).
The Hawks close out the regular season tomorrow night at home against the Tri-City Americans at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 5 p.m.
The Portland Winterhawks will take on the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round of the 2015 Parklane Mattresses Winterhawks Playoffs.
The schedule for that series will be as follows:
Game 1: Saturday, March 28 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Sunday, March 29 at the Moda Center, 5 p.m.
Game 3: Tuesday, March 31 at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4: Thursday, April 2 at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5*: Saturday, April 4 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 6 p.m.
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 7 at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 8 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 7 p.m.
Fans should note the special 6 p.m. start times on Saturday home games to avoid direct conflict with Trail Blazers games on those nights.