T-Birds Sunk by Portland
KENT, Wash. – The Seattle Thunderbirds fell behind early and never recovered as they dropped a 7-1 decision to the Portland Winterhawks Saturday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Despite the setback, Seattle is still just four points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The T-Birds close the three-game weekend Sunday when the host the Victoria Royals. Game time is 5:05 p.m.
Portland struck twice in the games first six minutes to grab a 2-0 lead. “We got off to a slow start,” said head coach Matt O’Dette. “We were making some mental mistakes that we don’t normally make, and we just couldn’t get in the groove. We needed to simplify early, spend some time in their end but we just couldn’t get on track.”
It had been a long travel day for Seattle as they were delayed ferrying back over from Victoria Saturday morning. They arrived for the game barely an hour before the opening faceoff. “It was a tough assignment,” explained O’Dette. “It was a long day, but sometimes you face those scenarios in this league, and you just have to do the best that you can.”
The game went from bad to worse as the Winterhawks added to their lead with a four-goal second period. Seattle finally got on the board with a power play goal from Eric Alarie early in the third period but would get no closer and Portland added one more goal.
“That’s a good team over there and they beat us pretty soundly,” said O’Dette. We need to regroup and finish the weekend off strong.”
The Thunderbirds last seven games have been against the top five teams in the Western Conference, and despite the loss Saturday, they have gone 3-4.
Jeremy Hanzel had an assist on the Alarie goal, his 100th assist as a Thunderbird. “He’s been a great T-Bird,” commented O’Dette of his veteran defenseman. “He’s had a really good year. He’s been one of the mainstays, as far as leadership in the lineup all year long, and he’s done a tremendous job for us.”
The final shots were 60-25 in favor of Portland. It’s the second time in a week Seattle has allowed 60 shots in a game.
Still missing from the lineup for Seattle were Sam Popowich, Coster Dunn, Simon Lovsin and Hyde Davidson as Seattle has missed over 130 games this season due to injuries.
Sunday Seattle finishes up their third straight weekend of playing three games in three nights. It will also be their seventh game in ten days.