T-Birds Fall Short in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. – Kazden Mathies scored the lone goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds dropped a 4-1 decision to the Portland Winterhawks Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It was the T-Birds third straight loss as they dropped another point back in the playoff chase. The Thunderbirds return to action Tuesday when they travel to Kennewick to play the Tri-City Americans at the Toyota Center.
The Thunderbirds stayed close, trailing by only a goal with just under three minutes remaining in the contest but James Stefan buried a one timer at 17:10 off a feed from behind the Seattle goal and Portland pulled away. Stefan would add an empty net goal a minute later.
“The effort was there,” said head coach Matt O’Dette. “It was a tough assignment, playing last night, playing Wednesday. They hadn’t played since last weekend. It’s a tough place to play against a good team.”
Seattle (18-29-2-0) spent much of the first period inside their own end of the ice and were outshot 20-to-7. O’Dette said he felt they kept the Winterhawks mostly to the outside, but it did lead to a Portland power play, and they converted with Gabe Klassen scoring at 10:03. “They have a good power play,” remarked O’Dette. “We gave them too many chances. Five power plays are a lot to give them, and it was a major factor in the game.”
Seattle took two more penalties early in the second period and Portland converted on the second with Klassen scoring again at 5:44. The Thunderbirds finally started to get their footing and cut the deficit in half with Mathies scoring his eighth of the season at 16:04.
Nathan Pilling, along with Owen Boucher, has the assists on the T-Birds lone goal. “Our effort was there for sure,” said Pilling of his team’s push back. “It takes a total buy in to compete with a top team in this league and I can’t short the guys for the effort they had.”
Seattle was held to just eighteen shots on goal, limiting their scoring chances. “We need to simplify in those situations, we need to get something to the net,” commented O’Dette. “We either missed the net or tried for the pass.”
Following their road game Tuesday, the Thunderbirds return home to the accesso ShoWare Center Wednesday to host the Wenatchee Wild. It is the T-Birds first official Pride Night. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Seattle was 0-for 2 with the man advantage and are scoreless on their last sixteen power play attempts.
This was Seattle’s last game in Portland this season. They finished with a road record of 0-5 against the Winterhawks, one season after winning four of six in Portland.
Spokane lost in overtime Saturday in Everett but the one point they earned put them seven points up on Seattle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.