The Portland Winterhawks season came to an end Tuesday night with a 6-3 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in game seven of their playoff series. Portland held a 3-1 series lead after a 5-1 victory on Friday, May 13th. Seattle battled back with a 3-1 win on Saturday, and a 2-1 win on Monday to force game seven.
Game seven saw the series return to Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Every game of the series saw a team score in the first period. Game seven was no exception, although it was a close call. Seattle struck first with a shorthanded goal from Nico Myatovic with 55 seconds remaining in the opening period. Seattle kept their momentum rolling into the second period, scoring three goals in the span of two minutes and eleven seconds. Jeremy Hanzel would score back-to-back goals, and Lucas Ciona would net the third to put Seattle up 4-0. The Winterhawks would score their first of the game at 10:03 thanks to a power play goal from Jaydon Dureau. Robbie Fromm-Delorme scored another power play goal late in the period to cut Seattle’s lead in half. Lukas Svejkovsky would answer back with his seventh of the postseason to give the Thunderbirds a 5-2 lead with 8:09 remaining in regulation. A second power play goal from Robbie Fromm-Delorme would get Portland back on track. However, it was too little, too late. An empty net goal from Reid Schaefer would put Seattle up 6-3, and send the Thunderbirds to the next round.
Special teams was a huge point of emphasis in game seven. For Portland, in particular, there were highs and lows throughout the game. On the plus side, All three Winterhawks’ goals were on the power-play. Also, the penalty kill was also a perfect four for four on the day. However, Portland only was able to capitalize on half of their power-play chances. They went three for six on the day, giving up a short-handed goal.
Seattle’s defense came in clutch towards the end of this series. In their last three games, the Thunderbirds have only allowed five goals. Of those five goals against, four of them were on the power-play. On top of that, Thomas Milic has put up some of his best numbers this postseason. Through his 12 postseason games, Milic has a lower goal against average (GAA) and higher save percentage than his regular season statistics. Milic currently has a GAA of 1.97, and save percentage of 0.928.