Winterhawks lock up home ice advantage throughout playoffs
Chase De Leo had a hat trick and the Portland Winterhawks (53-12-1-2) clinched home ice advantage through the playoffs with a 5-2 win in Victoria Sunday over the Royals (33-29-2-5).
By clinching home ice advantage through the postseason, the Hawks bring home the Scotty Munro Trophy, awarded annually to the team finishing with the WHL's top record. It's the first time Portland has won the Scotty Munro Trophy since 1997-98, when they had 111 points en route to winning the Memorial Cup.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the lone goal of the first period 3:34 into the game to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead going into the second.
De Leo notched the first of his three goals 9:48 into the second to make it 2-0, then Portland extended the lead with a goal from Seth Jones at the 13:08 mark to make it 3-0 going into the third.
Victoria got on the board 7:47 into the third with a goal from Logan Nelson to cut it to 3-1. De Leo responded with his second of the game at the 10:54 mark to put the Hawks back up by three with a 4-1 advantage. The Royals' Joe Hicketts scored at the 18:39 mark to make it 4-2, but De Leo sealed the win with a late empty net goal to complete his first hat trick and seal the 5-2 win.
In addition to the hat trick from De Leo, the Hawks got four assists from Taylor Leier, while Bjorkstrand and Jones each finished with two points.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net for Portland, stopping 27 of 29 shots. Victoria's Coleman Vollrath took the loss, allowing four goals on 43 shots.
The Hawks and Royals meet again Tuesday night at 7 p.m.