PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Those at Winterhawks viewing parties left disappointed but still optimistic Sunday, after Portland’s junior hockey team fell in the Memorial Cup finals.
Fans at McGillacuddys Sports Bar & Grill in northeast Portland cheered the team on as the game kicked off at 4 p.m. Sunday. Some fans even had tears in their eyes at Sunday’s eventual loss.
“They did great; they did awesome,” said one fan of the Winterhawks’ season. “Awesome job.”
“We’ve seen the team in the basement, and now we’re in the top,” said long-time season ticket holder Jim Lasseter at Sunday’s watch party in northeast Portland. “…This is a great team, it’s a development league, and these kids deserve to win.”
On this Sunday, the Winterhawks battled the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads for the Memorial Cup. The Hawks had played the same team, and lost, one week earlier — 7-4 in round-robin play.
It was 3-2 Halifax as of the third period. By 7:20 p.m. Sunday, with some additional Halifax scoring, Winterhawk Brendan Leipsic scored with 5:28 to go. But the Hawks still trailed Halifax 5-3 — with time running down in Memorial Cup Final.
Shortly before 7:40 p.m., the game came to an end — with the Hawks falling at 6-4.
The Winterhawks fell one win short of taking the Memorial Cup tournament. And Halifax kept the Memorial Cup in Canada.
If the Winterhawks had won, Portland would have secured the top prize in all of Junior Hockey for the third time in franchise history. The first two times were in 1983 and 1998.