Thunderbirds miss playoffs after loss to Hawks


PORTLAND, Ore. — Oliver Gabriel had a hat trick as the Portland Winterhawks eliminated the Seattle Thunderbirds from playoff consideration with an 8-2 victory Sunday in the final game of the Western Hockey League regular season.

Ty Rattie added two goals and an assist for the Winterhawks, who outscored the Thunderbirds 78-27 in going 11-1 against their biggest rival this season.

Joey Baker, Derrick Pouliot and Troy Rutkowski added single goals for the Winterhawks.

Portland (49-19-4) had already locked up the second-best record in the Western Conference and the No. 3 seed in the first round of the playoffs, where they will meet the sixth-seeded Kelowna Rockets.

Seattle (25-45-2) finishes two points behind the Everett Silvertips for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Thunderbirds have missed the post-season three seasons in a row.

Shea Theodore gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead 4:06 into the game, but Portland’s Rattie answered with his 56th goal of the season just 11 seconds later.

Rattie and Rutkowski scored later in the period to push the Winterhawks’ lead to 3-1 after 20 minutes.

Burke Gallimore pulled Seattle within 3-2 with his team-leading 22nd goal of the season early in the second period, but the Winterhawks took control from there with five unanswered goals.

Seattle’s Calvin Pickard, the WHL’s all-time leader in minutes played and saves, stopped 38 shots in what was likely his last game in the league. His Portland counterpart, Brendan Burke, made 29 saves in victory.

Portland’s top-ranked WHL power play finished 2-for-6 for the game, while Seattle went 1-for-2.

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