Game 26: Terrible first period leads to a lopsided loss in Portland for Thunderbirds

Dec 3, 2011, 9:49 PM | Updated: Dec 4, 2011, 2:20 am

(19-9-1-1) Portland Winterhawks 7, (11-14-0-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 1

“We did not come out with any of the urgency and desperation we need to play. We showed this team too much respect. We need to believe that we can beat that team and we didn’t in the first (period) and it showed….It was just a bad game. We didn’t come to play.”… Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk

PORTLAND- The Thunderbirds found themselves out of this one early as a disastrous first period in which the Birds allowed 29 shots led to 4-0 Winterhawks lead after 20 minutes. Seattle also gave up three power play goals on their way to a 7-1 loss.

The teddy bears were tossed quickly on teddy bear toss night in Portland as Ty Rattie scored his 28th goal of the season at 2:52 of the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. The Birds were having all kinds of trouble controlling play with Portland registering all seven shots before the goal.

Play resumed after about a 25 minute delay to clean the bears off the ice and perform an on ice marriage.

Not much change in the Birds performance after the break with more sloppy play in the defensive zone leading to a wide open net and an easy goal by Tyler Wotherspoon (4) to give Portland a 2-0 lead at 4:42.

Taylor Leier (6) was left all alone in front of Calvin Pickard (11-11-0-1)and he easily shot one past him to put the Hawks up 3-0 at 11:32.

At the radio timeout Steve Konowalchuk gave his troops the once over.

Leier (7) scored his second goal of the game at 17:57 and Portland had a 4-0 lead. It was a power play goal after Kyle Verdino was called for USC.

The worst period of the season for the Birds as they are outshot 29-7 and down 4-0 after 20 minutes.

The Hawks went up 5-0 after they were given a five on three advantage. Burke Gallimore was called for High Sticking and Justin Hickman for Checking to the Head. The replay clearly showed the check was shoulder to shoulder. The goal was scored by Joe Morrow (9) at 10:49 of the second period.

Brad Ross (17) put one through the five hole past Pickard to put the Hawks up 6-0 at 16:43. It was their third power play goal (Evan Wardley was called for Interference).

Seattle found themselves in a huge 6-0 hole after two periods. Shots were 45-17 in favor of the Hawks.

Daniel Cotton took over for Pickard in net to start the third period.

Gallimore (14) finally got the Birds on the board 4:31 into the third period when he shot one past Mac Carruth (18-8-1). Shea Theodore got the assist and the Birds were down 6-1.

Joey Baker (1) scored the Hawks fourth power play goal of the game to give them a 7-1 lead at 18:09.

Seattle loses 7-1 and they are outshot 60-27.

Quotes of the game:

Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk on the first period..

“We did not come out with any of the urgency and desperation we need to play. We showed this team too much respect. We need to believe that we can beat that team and we didn’t in the first (period) and it showed.”

On why the Birds played so poorly after just recently beating Portland at home…

“I think maybe we aren’t that same team on the road. We are getting more confidence at home. We’re not that same team on the road. “

On the defensive breakdowns…

“It was just a bad game. We didn’t come to play.”

On not playing a physical enough game..

“Skating and being physical is our strength. We weren’t skating. You can’t be physical if you don’t skate.”

On the checking to the head call against Hickman…

“I looked at the replay and I honestly have no idea what that call was.”

On taking way too many penalties..

“If you are skating and initiating the play you won’t take the penalties.”

On the Birds inconsistent play the first third of the season..

“Between our good and our bad there is too big of a gap. We have to close that gap (to where it’s not as big a difference).We have to keep getting better. We have to become more mentality tough and become more consistent.”

On a two loss weekend…

“Today was a mental game to me. We didn’t come out skating for whatever reason. Last night we came out and played well five on five and had a chance to win. We have to be more consistent.”

On showing the Hawks too much respect..

“Our first period we were waiting to see what they were going to do. We have to dictate the pace.”

On possibly being intimidated playing on the road in front of large crowds like tonight…

“The intimidation factor is that these are good hockey teams that have a history of winning recently. It’s not a physical intimidation. They have to get that out of their heads and go play.”

Plus side:

– Nothing.

Minus side:

Where to start? The Birds were downright awful in their own end especially in the first period (29 shots against!). They haven’t played that poorly in front of Pickard in quite a while.

– What happened to the physical game? This team is taking too many nights off when it comes to physical play. They simply are not as offensively talented as teams like Tri and Portland so they must skate and hit and wear teams down. When they do they usually win, when they don’t they usually lose big.

– Special teams were awful. The power play goes 0 for 3 while the PK gives up four goals on eight chances.

– Nothing helped. The 25 minute delay after Portland’s first goal didn’t do a thing to get the Birds going. Neither did a chewing out by Konowalchuk after they were down 3-0.

– Nobody stepped up. The Birds are very thin up front but other than Gallimore’s goal and a hearty effort from Hickman there really isn’t much good to say about the other forwards that need to step it up and soon.

– Bad penalties. You simply can’t give a team like Portland eight power play chances, period.

– Unlike their last game at home vs. Portland, the Birds cannot contain Rattie and Bartschi (seven points combined).

– 29 shots against in the first period and 60 overall. Enough said.

Game Notes:

-D Cason Machacek was serving the final game of his three game suspension.

– Seattle drops to 5-8 on the road and 3-5 against the U.S. Division.

– The Birds are now 1-3 against Portland this season. (1-1 home, 0-2 road).

F Colin Jacobs will hopefully return to action Friday night against Prince George.

710Sports.com three stars:

First star: Ty Rattie (goal and three assists)

Second star: Taylor Leier (two goals)

Third star: Sven Bartschi (three assists)

The Thunderbirds play Friday night at the ShoWare Center against the Prince George Cougars. Game time is 7:30 pm and the action can be heard live at 710Sports.com.

Game summary is on the WHL website.

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