T-Birds drop home opener 6-2 to Portland

Sep 22, 2012, 10:14 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2012, 12:49 am

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Seattle failed to generate enough offense against Portland Saturday (photo courtesy whl.ca)


By Andrew Eide

Kent, Wa – A night after spoiling the home opener for the Portland Winterhawks, the Seattle Thunderbirds returned home to the ShoWare Center to take on the same Portland squad. Unfortunately for Seattle, Portland was able to exact some revenge and handed the Thunderbirds a tough 6-2 defeat .

Unlike Friday night’s game Seattle matched Portland’s play early as both teams traded shots, and hits, throughout the first period. Seattle struck first at 7:20 in the period with a power play goal as Seth Swenson took a pass from Riley Sheen and knocked it home. The 5,084 in attendance erupted and it seemed that the momentum from Friday’s night game had carried over.

Portland pushed back however and tied the game late in the period when Nic Petan stole the puck and fed defenseman Derrick Pouliout who beat Brandon Glover with a wrist shot.

In the second period Seattle missed a chance to take control. Ty Rattie cross checked Seattle’s Jesse Forsberg head first into the board which sparked a huge scrum that saw Rattie given a five minute major and a game misconduct. Forsberg also got some penalty minutes and in the end Seattle was given three minutes of power play. They failed to generate many chances and Portland was able to kill it off. After that, Portland took control of the game.

Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored goals for Portland three minutes apart and Seattle ended the second period down two goals due to some defensive breakdowns. Portland out shot Seattle 21-6 in the period as Seattle was not able to generate any kind of real push back the rest of the way.

“They’re (Portland) a good team, but they out worked us in the second half. I don’t know what our guys are thinking, for whatever reason about half way through the game they stopped working,” Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards.

Things did not improve for Seattle in the third as Portland scored three more times to make it six unanswered goals and build a five goal cushion before Jesse Forsberg scored to make it 6-2. Nic Petan was the star for Portland as he picked up a goal and three assists along with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist and fight in same game).

As exciting as Friday night’s big win in Portland was, this game was just as frustrating for Seattle.

“I thought we needed a little more fight back when things didn’t go our way,” Konowalchuk said. “We seemed to kind of just play like we were waiting for the next game in the second half, we have to get away from that mentality. We have to get back to working hard, I thought our work ethic slipped.”

Captain Luke Lockhart felt that the team needs to focus on the positives from this weekend and move forward.

“It’s early in the season,” he said. “But it’s one of those things that you learn over time and no matter what the score is you’re going to keep playing, re-focus and come back at them. We beat these guys on Friday and they’re the same team Friday as they were Saturday, we just really want to focus on the good things we did that game and tighten up things turn-over wise we did this game”

Seattle next travels to Prince George for back to back games Friday and Saturday against the Cougars.

Game Notes:

Portland seems to have found yet another star in import draftee Oliver Bjorkstrand. Bjorkstrand had seven points in the presason for Portland and already has three goals in the season’s first two games. Keep an eye on him as the season goes along.

Riley Sheen is turning into quite the pick up for Seattle. He was acquired by Seattle from Medicine Hat for Jacob Doty this off season. In Medicine Hat Sheen was buried on the bench and it is surprising that the Tigers would be willing to part with a young player with tremendous offensive ability. Sheen is gritty, plays bigger than his frame and has been a spark plug in Seattle’s first two games. In 46 games, playing limited ice time, with Medicine Hat Sheen scored one goal and three points. In two games this year he has two goals and two assists and was named one of the three stars in each game.

Special teams were a struggle for Seattle last year and while the season is only two games old, they are off to a strong start. They were one for four on the power play Saturday and now are three for eight on the season. Conversely they have held Portland, one of the best power plays in the WHL, without a power play goal in ten attempts so far.

Seattle will get their first look at their former teammate Colin Jacobs on Friday in Prince George. The Cougars were in Everett Saturday night and Jacobs had an impressive debut with two goals and three assists in Prince George’s 6-0 victory.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andyeide


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