The Portland Winterhawks snatch a 2-1 victory in Game 2 over the Seattle Thunderbird this Sunday. Thanks to a 4-2 victory on Saturday at the accesso ShoWare Center, the Winterhawks now lead in their playoff series 2-0. With two wins this weekend, the Winterhawks are now on a 12-game win streak. Portland’s last loss was March 26th to the Everett Silvertips, who were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Vancouver Giants.
The first game of this series saw the momentum shift back and forth between the two teams. The scoring opened in the first period with Jared Davidson earning his fourth goal of this postseason. The second period was where both teams’ offenses caught fire.
Seattle would hold their one-goal lead until the 8:44 mark of the second period when Marcus Nguyen would score for Portland to tie the game. Then at the 14:44 mark of the second period, James Stefan would shoot five-hole and score his third goal of this postseason, giving the Winterhawks a lead. However, with one minute remaining in the second period, Matthew Rempe would score for Seattle to tie the game at 2-2. At the 16:21 mark of the third period, Clay Hanus would score on the power play to give the Winterhawks a 3-2 lead. Portland would hold this lead until the end of the game and secure the win with an empty net goal courtesy of Robbie Fromm-Delorme.
Game 2 was a low-scoring affair that once again saw Seattle taking an early lead. Lucas Ciona would score his 4th of the postseason for the Thunderbirds at the 9:05 mark of the first period. The second period saw Portland being held to seven shots, their second-lowest of any period this postseason. Despite the low shot total, the Winterhawks would equalize thanks to a goal from Tyson Kozak at the 11:02 mark of the second period. In a wild twist, Portland’s penalty kill unit would capitalize on a miscommunication between Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic and defenseman Kevin Korchinski. This mishap allowed Jaydon Dureau to find Gabe Klassen for Portland’s first shorthanded goal of the postseason. The Winterhawks would hold on for the remaining 3:38 of the period to win 2-1 over Seattle.
This series was destined to be highly contested given how these two teams had played in their opening playoff rounds. Portland is coming off a series sweep against the Prince George Cougars. The Winterhawks outshot the Cougars in all four games, averaging 40.5 shots per game. Portland also only allowed four goals against for the entirety of the series. Seattle is coming off a 4-1 series victory against the Kelowna Rockets. The Thunderbirds were explosive in their first series, scoring 25 goals in their five games.
One major dynamic of this matchup to watch for is the special teams. The Thunderbirds scored 10 goals on 24 power-play opportunities in their series against the Kelowna Rockets. However, in all three of Seattle’s playoff losses, the Thunderbirds are a combined 0-for-8 on the power play. Portland’s power play has had some struggles capitalizing recently. Between their series against the Prince George Cougars and their two games against Seattle, the Winterhawks are a combined 3-for-20 on the power-play this postseason. Despite this, it’s worth noting that both game-winning goals of this series against Seattle have been either on the power play or shorthanded.
Game three goes Wednesday, May 11th at 7:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.