KENT, Wash. –The Seattle Thunderbirds rallied with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation before falling, 3-2, to the Portland Winterhawks Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center. The loss snapped the T-birds four game winning streak, but they have now earned points in five straight games. The Thunderbirds return to the ice Saturday at 6:05 a.m. to host the Everett Silvertips.
The T-birds ended up outshooting Portland 53-28, including 21-5 in the third period. But the T-birds lost the special teams battle as they failed to score on five power plays. Meanwhile the Winterhawks were 1-for-2 with the man advantage.
It was the second time in the past five games the T-birds stormed back in the final minutes of a game. Back on March 1Stthe T-birds scored twice in the final minute of play to overcome a one-goal deficit and beat the Kelowna Rockets.
Head coach Matt O’Dette again praised his team’s resiliency, “I really liked the no quit by our team. The game against Kelowna instills amounts in those situations. We had that amounted all the way to the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that extra point but definitely happy with the way we finished that game.”
Seattle (34-14-4-2) started well, getting a power play opportunity before the game was 30-seconds old. They put four shots on net but Portland netminder Taylor Gauthier stood his ground. Then Portland got on the board. Clay Hanus shoved a loose puck, lying in the Seattle crease, into the back of the net giving the Winterhawks the early one goal lead at 6:06 of the opening period.
Portland doubled their lead at 11:18 of the second period on a Jaydon Dureau power play goal. It stayed 2-0 for the Winterhawks until Seattle pulled their goalie for the extra skater with just under three-minutes remaining. The T-birds put the puck out in front of the Portland net and Reid Schaefer banged home his 27th of the season to make it a one goal game at 17:58. Kevin Korchinski and Lucas Svejkovsky had the assists.
Down a goal in the final minute, Korchinski fed Jared Davidson the puck in the right face-off circle, and he snapped home his team leading 28th goal to even up the score at 2-2 with just 32-seconds left. Svejkovsky had the second assist. Davidson liked his team’s never give up attitude. “We never quit, we’re very relentless. We gotta maybe play a little bit more 60-minute game but it shows the guys there’s no quit on this team. It’s awesome to see and it will pay dividends at the end of the year.”
Neither team scored in overtime, and it took seven rounds of the shootout before Portland’s Luca Cagnoni found the back of the net to give the Winterhawks the win.
“We’re disappointed,” said O’Dette about losing the shootout and dropping a point to Portland in the standings. “We thought we were in a good spot to win that game, but that’s the way she goes.”
Along with the game against Everett tomorrow, the four game homestand concludes Tuesday, March 15th when the Tri-City Americans return to town.
Seattle lost Lucas Ciona to an upper body injury in the first period, forcing the T-birds to play most of the game with just eleven forwards. There was no status update on his condition after the game.
Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an upper body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Team rosters for the 2022 NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game in Kitchener, Ontario have been finalized. T-birds Jordan Gustafson and Kevin Korchinski will play for Team Red while Reid Schaefer will be on Team White. The game is slated for March 23approx and features the top 40 CHL prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Full box score: WHL Network