For the Reporter
The Portland Winterhawks defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-3 Sunday night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
The Winterhawks swept the two-game, home-and-away series, beating the T-Birds 4-1 on Kent ice Saturday night.
The T-Birds are tied with the Tri-City Americans for the first wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are three points behind the third-place Spokane Chiefs.
Seattle (27-20-6-2) took a 1-0 lead at 4:48 of the first period. Noah Philp passed the puck up the left wing to a streaking Dillon Hamaliuk, who had a partial breakaway, skated into the left circle and snapped the shot over the left shoulder of Portland goalie Shane Farkas.
Portland (35-18-1-3) tied the game 1-1 on a shorthanded goal by Joachim Blichfeld at 13:16 of the first.
The T-Birds took the lead back on the power play at 19:11 of the first. Austin Strand had the puck at the right point. Strand passed the puck to Turner Ottenbreit at center ice. Ottenbreit took a slap shot with traffic in front of Farkas. Ottenbreit’s shot beat Farkas low on the blocker side. Donovan Neuls had the second assist on Ottenbreit’s seventh goal of the season.
Both teams had 10 shots on goal in the first period.
The Winterhawks tied the game 2-2 at 15:30 of the second period on a goal from Lane Gilliss. Jake Gricius and Dennis Cholowski had the assists.
Seattle took the lead back with one minute to go in the second with a power-play goal. Ottenbreit had the puck at center ice and he passed it to Strand in the left circle. Strand one-timed the pass. Matthew Wedman’s tipped Strand’s shot past Farkas for his 13th goal of the season.
Portland outshot Seattle 9-8 in the second period and led 19-18 in shots after two periods.
Ryan Hughes tied the game 3-3 for Portland at 8:48 of the third period on assist from Gricius and Cholowski.
The Winterhawks took a 4-3 lead when Alex Overhardt got a rebound from a Blichfeld shot past Seattle goalie Dorrin Luding.
Seattle killed a late Portland power play and then pulled Luding with 45 seconds left in the game to try and get the tying goal. Blichfeld was able to chase down a loose puck and score an empty-net goal with 20 seconds left to seal the win for Portland.
Luding made 31 saves on 35 shots and his record is 8-12-1-0. Farkas made 19 saves on 22 shots and his record goes to 9-5-0-0.
The T-Birds’ next game is 7:35 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, against the Everett Silvertips at the accesso ShoWare Center.
For tickets, order on the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare box office.
First period – 1, Seattle, Hamaliuk 13 (Philp), 4:48. 2, Portland, Blichfeld 19, 13:16 (sh). 3, Seattle, Ottenbreit 7 (Strand, Neuls), 19:11. Penalties – Kaluski, Sea (roughing), 8:16. MacLean, Sea (roughing), 8:16. Gilliss, Por (roughing), 8:16. MacKenzie, Por (slashing), 11:36. Ottenbreit, Sea (roughing), 14:40. Hughes, Por (roughing), 14:40. Gilliss, Por (high-sticking), 17:29.
Second period – 4, Portland, Gilliss 4 (Gricius, Cholowski), 15:30. 5, Seattle, Wedman 12 (Strand, Ottenbreit), 19:00 (pp). Penalties – Strand, Sea (hooking), 8:50. Newkirk, Por (high-sticking), 18:38.
Third period – 6, Portland, Hughes 11 (Gricius, Cholowski), 8:48. 7, Portland, Overhardt (Blichfeld), 13:02. 8, Portland, Blichfeld 20, 19:40 (en). Penalties – Katzalay, Sea (charging), 2:05. Blichfeld, Por (hooking), 2:54. Huo, Sea (hooking), 17:22. Ottenbreit, Sea (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.
Shots on goal – Seattle 10-8-4 22, Portland 10-9-17 36. Goalies – Seattle, Luding 35 shots-31 saves (8-12-1-0); Portland, Farkas 22-19 (9-5-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 2-4; Portland 0-4. A – 6,122. Referees – Adam Griffiths, Jeff Ingram. Linesmen – Adam Brastad, Mark Heier.