There was one player left from Yellowknife still active in the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs going into action on Tuesday night.
And that one player is now out.
Yellowknife’s Jonah Bevington and his Portland Winterhawks were bounced out in their second-round tilt with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday at home. The visitors beat the Winterhawks, 6-3, in the deciding Game 7 of their series to win it and move on to face the Kamloops Blazers, the same team which beat Yellowknife’s Logan Cunningham and the Spokane Chiefs the round prior, in the Western Conference final.
Bevington said it was the second period where most of the damage was done.
“They got three quick ones and that just took the life out of us,” he said. “It just happened.”
The Winterhawks went down 4-0 at that point but cut the deficit in half to 4-2 with two power-play goals later in the second period. Seattle would get another in the third to go back out in front by three but Portland answered back to get it back to 5-3. An empty-netter sealed Portland’s fate and the Thunderbirds moved on.
Seattle forced Game 7 by winning at home on Monday night, 2-1, but it was a series which Bevington said home ice advantage didn’t make a lick of difference.
“That was the third time they beat us at home,” he said. “We won twice at their rink as well but it was all about whoever came ready to play in Game 7 and they were the better team that night.”
Portland advanced to the second round after sweeping the Prince George Cougars in four straight games in the opening round and Bevington said that gave the team plenty of confidence going forward.
Especially when you consider the top-seeded Everett Silvertips were beaten by the eighth-seeded Vancouver Giants in round one, making second-seeded Portland the highest seed left.
“We felt we could’ve gone all the way,” he said. “We have good, skilled players, great goaltending but we just didn’t get the right bounces at the right time. That’s playoff hockey — you have to be lucky sometimes and we weren’t.”
Bevington finished up his second season with the Winterhawks, playing in 42 games and registering 12 points: two goals and 10 assists while adding two assists in eight playoff games. His first goal this season against Spokane on Dec. 10 was his first career WHL goal.
He didn’t make his season debut until Nov. 2 against Kamloops as he was recovering from shoulder surgery during the off-season.
“I missed the first three months because of it,” he said. “It’s fully healed now and I had a good season. I accomplished a lot.”
With his second season in the WHL now over, Bevington plans on taking some time off to relax and possibly come back home to see family and friends, something he hasn’t been able to do in about two years because of the border restrictions between Canada and the U.S.
“I really want to catch up with family, come home to Yellowknife, see some friends I haven’t seen in a while,” he said. “After that, it’s back to the gym to get ready for next season. The plan is to go back to Portland for next season but it’s a long off-season and anything can happen.”