(Photo: CRAW Media/Portland Winterhawks)

*This was originally posted May 14, 2022*

Following Wednesday night’s game three loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winterhawks vice president/head coach/general manager Mike Johnston had this to say about what he and his team needed to do to change the outcome in the next game:

“We’ve got to make sure going into Seattle that we’re better than we were tonight and take every piece of every game and you’re trying to evaluate it and figure out how can we be better? What did they do different in that game? It’s always a little bit of a chess match going back and forth.”

In Friday night’s game four, Johnston and his Winterhawks took an advantage on the chessboard and they used special teams to do it.

Johnston and his team proved they can bounce back from a hard loss just fine as they defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-1. They are set to bring a 3-1 series lead back home to the Rose City on Saturday evening, and fans are sure to see another exciting battle between these rivals.

As the game started, it looked similar for both teams, but with Seattle having struck first in the previous three games of the series, the Winterhawks were looking to change the story here in game four. Off the stick of Cross Hanas, Portland claimed the lead 7:09 into the game and they wouldn’t give it up. Just over seven minutes later, Tyson Kozak would pick up the eventual game-winner on the first Winterhawks power play of the night.

In the second period, Lukas Svejkovsky would find life for Seattle, scoring a power-play tally of his own early in the second period. The goal came after a flurry of activity in front of Taylor Gauthier’s net, and it gave a spark to the Thunderbirds’ game. Unfortunately for Seattle, a spark wouldn’t be enough, and a second Winterhawks power play would see Cross Hanas restore Portland’s two-goal lead 11:42 into the middle frame. A double minor penalty to Thunderbirds captain Tyrel Bauer for high sticking and roughing would put Portland back on the man advantage and Jack O’Brien would make it a 4-1 with 2:16 left in the period

The Thunderbirds would stop the bleeding there until the 19:41 mark of the third period when, while shorthanded, Hanas would complete his hat trick on the empty net. 

Cross Hanas and Luca Cagnoni celebrate a shorthanded empty net goal as Marek Alscher sits in the Penalty Box for the Portland Winterhawks
(Photo: Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds)

Kyle Chyzowski would finish the night with three assists while Hanas would pick up points on four of the five Winterhawks goals.

In net, Taylor Gauthier would make 31 saves on 32 Thunderbirds shots while on the other side of the ice, Thomas Milic would stop 17 of the 21 that came his way.

The Portland Winterhawks would have their most successful night on the man advantage in this postseason, finishing 3-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The Winterhawks have a chance to end the series with a victory at home on Saturday.

Puck drop at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum is scheduled for 6 PM PDT.