The Portland Winterhawks handed out their year-end awards on Sunday, after finishing their regular season.
Nic Petan and Derrick Pouliot shared the MVP Award. Pouliot also won the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, and fellow defenseman Keoni Texeira won the Rookie of the Year Award. Team captain Taylor Leier won the inaugural Winterhawk award, as voted on by the coaches, for the player who embodies character, leadership, heart and soul.
Dominic Turgeon took home the team’s award for sportsmanship and ability, while Josh Hanson and Ethan Price shared the Scholastic player of the year award. Brendan Leipsic was the winner of the Booster Club’s Most Popular Player award. Petan earned the leading scorer award, finishing the season with 113 points, second in the league and the second straight season he’s topped the century mark.
During their last regular season game on Sunday, the Winterhawks won 5-4 against the visiting Everett Silvertips.
Winterhawks captain Taylor Leier got Portland on the board first when he scored at the 9:04 mark of the first for a 1-0 lead. The Hawks made it a two-goal game at the 12:19 mark when Alex Schoenborn notched a goal.
Everett got within one 1:45 into the second after scoring on a power play to cut the Hawks’ lead to 2-1, then scored the equalizer at the 7:25 mark.
Portland regained the lead at the 11:47 mark when Brendan Leipsic carried the puck into the Everett zone, and found Petan at the side of the net for a tap-in and a 3-2 lead. The Silvertips tied it again at the 14:10 mark, which remained the score going into the third. Everett took their first lead 5:24 into the third, but then Portland tied it on a shorthanded goal from Leier at the 8:13 mark to set up overtime.
The Hawks dominated the extra frame, outshooting Everett 5-1, but neither team scored, setting up the shootout. Pouliot scored on Portland’s first attempt, and Everett scored from their second player. Petan scored during the fourth round, while Portland goaltender Adin Hill turned away the last scorer for the Winterhawks to claim a win.
On Saturday night, the Hawks earned a 7-0 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Hawks outshot Seattle 15-4 in the first period, but the game remained scoreless going into the second.
Portland got four goals in the second period, breaking through 4:23 into the frame when Bjorkstrand put in a rebound for a 1-0 lead. The Hawks scored off a rebound again at the 7:02 mark when Adam Rossignol pounced on a loose puck for a 2-0 advantage.
Portland struck again at the 10:02 mark when Seattle lost track of Taylor Leier, who took a feed from behind the net and scored for a 3-0 lead. Late in the period Matt Dumba notched one to give Portland a 4-0 advantage going into the third.
Portland didn’t let up in the third, as Paul Bittner cashed in on a power play 4:17 into the period for a 5-0 lead. They added to the lead just under two minutes later when Bjorkstrand scored on a wraparound to make it 6-0. He later completed the hat trick and made it a 7-0 game.
On Friday, the Winterhawks earned a 5-2 road win in Seattle. The Hawks scored the lone goal of the first when defenseman Matt Dumba hammered a shot past the Seattle netminder at the 12:56 mark for a 1-0 lead.
Portland made it a two-goal lead when Brendan Leipsic scored a power play goal 3:41 into the second for a 2-0 lead. They extended it less than two minutes later when Oliver Bjorkstrand notched the third goal.
Seattle got on the board 16:27 into the second when they scored to cut Portland’s lead to 3-1, which remained the score going into the third.
The Thunderbirds got within one when they scored 1:11 into the third to make it 3-2, but Bjorkstrand answered back with his second of the game 1:36 later for a 4-2 advantage. Taylor Leier then made it 5-2 at the 9:54.
For the first round of the WHL playoffs, the Hawks will play the Vancouver Giants in a best-of-seven series.
The Hawks open the playoffs Friday, March 21 with game one and will also host game two on Saturday, March 22. Game three and four will be held in Vancouver on Tuesday, Mar. 25 and Wednesday, Mar. 26.