Winterhawks Fly Past T-Birds
Gropp scores in 4-1 loss to Portland
KENT, March 18, 2017 — The Portland Winterhawks defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-1 Saturday night at ShoWare Center in Kent.
Seattle is 45-20-4-2 and has one game left in the regular season on Sunday against the Vancouver Giants at 5:05pm at ShoWare Center. The T-Birds will finish the regular season in second place the U.S. Division. The Everett Silvertips won the U.S. Division Saturday night with a 5-2 win over the Victoria Royals.
The T-Birds have clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and will play either the Tri-City Americans or Portland Winterhawks. Games 1 and 2 of the first round against either Tri-City or Portland will be at ShoWare Center Friday, March 24, at 7:35pm and Saturday, March 25, at 7:05pm.
Portland is 40-27-1-3 and has 84 points in the division. Tri-City is 40-28-3-0 and has 83 points in the division. Portland takes on the Spokane Chiefs Sunday in Portland while Tri-City plays Everett in Kennewick. The T-Birds will face the team that finishes in third place in the U.S. Division after Sunday’s games.
Single game playoff tickets for Games 1 and 2 are currently on sale at the ShoWare Center box office and online on the T-Birds website.
The T-Birds have a Group Ticket Special for Game 1 and Game 2. Fans that purchase 10 tickets to either Game 1 or Game 2 for $220 will also receive 2 additional FREE tickets to the playoff game they choose. Fans can purchase this playoff Group Ticket Special for Game 1 and Game 2 online or by calling the T-Birds at 253-239-7825.
Portland took a 1-0 lead at 17:57 of the first period on a goal from Colton Veloso. Lane Gilliss took a shot that hit the glass behind Seattle goalie Matt Berlin and rebounded right to Veloso to the left of the net. Veloso backhand the puck in as Berlin slid over to try and make the save. Caleb Jones had the second assist.
Portland outshot Seattle 17-13 in the first period.
The Winterhawks made it a 2-0 lead at 6:16 of the second period on Veloso’s second goal of the game. Alex Overhardt and Ryan Hughes had the assists.
Seattle cut the Portland lead to one at 10:15 of second. Scott Eansor had the puck in the left corner. Eansor moved the puck up the left wall to Ryan Gropp. Gropp skated into the left circle and beat Portland goalie Cole Kehler through the legs for his 35th goal of the season. Elijah Brown had the second assist.
Alex Overhardt scored at 3:39 of the third period to put the Winterhawks in front 3-1. Veloso and Brendan De Jong had the assists.
The T-Birds pulled Berlin with over two minutes left in the game. Keoni Texeira hit the empty net with 39 seconds left to make it a 4-1 Portland lead.
Portland outshot Seattle 12-6 in the third period and 41-32 in the game.
Berlin made 37 saves on 40 and his record is now 7-2-2-0.
Kehler had 31 saves on 32 shots and his record is now 32-17-0-3.
First period – 1, Portland, Veloso 17 (Gilliss, Jones), 19:34. Penalties – Veloso, Por (tripping), :20. Strand, Sea (high-sticking), 6:43. Harsch, Sea (interference), 19:34.
Second period – 2, Portland, Veloso 18 (Overhardt, Hughes), 6:16. 3, Seattle, Gropp 35 (Eansor, Brown), 10:15. Penalties – Hyman, Sea (holding), 3:35. Hughes, Por (goaltender interference), 3:35. McKenzie, Por (roughing), 12:12. Kolesar, Sea (roughing), 12:12. Clayton, Por (hooking), 15:39.
Third period – 4, Portland, Overhardt 14 (Veloso, De Jong), 3:39. 5, Seattle, Texeira 12, 19:21 (en). Penalties – Iverson, Por (interference), 11:47.
Shots on goal – Seattle 13-13-6 32, Portland 17-12-12 41. Goalies – Seattle, Berlin 40 shots-37 saves (7-2-2-0); Portland, Kehler 32-31 (32-17-0-3). Power plays – Seattle 1-2; Portland 0-1. A – 6,173. Referees – Brett Iverson, Mark Pearce. Linesmen – Zach Brooks, Mark Heier.