The Portland Winterhawks are past their first hurdle in their quest to make the Memorial Cup tournament.
The Hawks completed their first-round, four-game sweep of the Everett Silvertips Thursday with a 6-2 victory at Everett, Wash., advancing the Hawks to the second round of the playoffs.
It marks the Winterhawks' first playoff series sweep since the 1998 WHL Finals, when Portland swept the Brandon Wheat Kings to advance to the Memorial Cup, which it won.
The Winterhawks now await the result of the series between the Spokane Chiefs and Chilliwack Bruins to see who they will play in the second round, a series the Chiefs currently lead 3-1 after a win Thursday. If Spokane wins, the Winterhawks will take on the Kelowna Rockets. If Chilliwack overcomes the 3-1 deficit and wins that series, Portland will then take on the Bruins.
Portland's six goals Thursday came from six different players.
Everett opened the scoring with a goal by Jari Erricson 5:22 into the game, but the Winterhawks stormed back with five consecutive goals. Taylor Peters scored at the 16:28 mark of the first to even the game at 1-1, then Riley Boychuk scored a power-play goal at the 18:51 mark to give Portland a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
The Winterhawks then came out firing in the second, as Craig Cunningham scored just 45 seconds into the period to extend the lead to 3-1. Cunningham's goal was followed at the 4:10 mark by a goal from Sven Bartschi, and just 29 seconds later Portland struck again with a goal from Joe Morrow to race out to a 5-1 lead.
Everett got one back at the 10:08 mark when Manraj Hayer cut Portland's lead to 5-2, but the Hawks again went up by four when Brad Ross scored from a great setup by Ryan Johansen at the 16:57 mark to make it 6-2, a lead they would take into the third period.
The score remained 6-2 through the third period as the Hawks closed out the game.
Bartschi finished with a goal and two assists, while Cunningham, Ross, Niederreiter and Ty Rattie all had two points in the win.
Mac Carruth, playing all games of the series after recovering from a late-season injury, picked up the victory with 31 saves on 33 Everett shots. Luke Siemens allowed six Portland goals on 44 shots.