The Portland Winterhawks (34-31-6-1) fell 4-1 in the regular season finale against the Seattle Thunderbirds (45-23-4-0) in front of a sold out crowd of 10,947 at the Moda Center.
The Hawks opened the scoring 17:03 into the first when Dominic Turgeon collected a long rebound and fired it in from a sharp angle for a 1-0 lead the team took into the second period.
Early in the second Seattle tied it when Donovan Neuls scored 1:48 into the frame, then later in the period Mathew Barzal scored on a power play at 13:54 to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead. They added a late goal from Alexander True with 48.6 seconds remaining to take a 3-1 lead into the third.
The Hawks pressed to get back on the board throughout the final frame, but Seattle rookie Elijah Brown scored with under a minute to go to round out the scoring in the Thunderbirds’ 4-1 win.
With the regular season in the books, the Hawks now turn to the postseason with Game 1 of their first round series against the Everett Silvertips Friday in Everett at 7:35 p.m.
Prior to the game, the team handed out its annual awards. Dominic Turgeon and Adin Hill shared the team’s MVP Award as voted on by teammates, while Turgeon also took home the Winterhawks Award for character, leadership, heart & soul as voted on by the coaches, and the team’s leading scorer award. Hill was also named the Booster Club fan favorite.
Defenseman Caleb Jones earned the Rookie of the Year Award, while fellow blueliner Blake Heinrich won the Defensive Player Award. Michael Bullion and Alex Schoenborn shared the Sportsmanship & Ability Award, while Bullion was also the collegiate Scholastic Player of the Year. Forward Brett Clayton won the Scholastic Award among the high school players.