Game 1: Untimely penalties lead to the Birds demise on opening night vs. the Hawks

Sep 24, 2011, 10:53 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2011, 12:11 pm

(2-0) Portland Winterhawks 6, (0-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 3

We took some stupid penalties in the second period and you can’t do that against a team like Portland…Marcel Noebels

KENT- A festive start to a brand new season ended on a down note as the Thunderbirds drop their season opener by a score of 6-3 to the Portland Winterhawks. The Birds were out shot 46-24 including 22-13 in the third period when the Hawks pulled away soon after Noebels tied the game 3-3.

It was 16 year old D-man Taylor Green (1) who was playing up front, that scored the Birds first goal of the season to put them up 1-0 at 2:53 of the second period. It was also his first WHL goal. Assisting were Jacob Doty and Kyle Verdino.

Back to back goals by Ty Rattie (1, power play) and Brad Ross (1) would put Portland up 2-1 going into the third period. Helping Portland take the lead were consecutive penalties by the Birds (Verdino for Holding and Mitch Elliot for Slashing). The Hawks would score on the latter.

The Birds came out strong in the third period and Chance Lund (1) tied the game 2-2 when he picked the puck off the boards and slapped a shot past Mac Carruth (2-0). Erik Fleming and Brendan Rouse assisted.

Once again a Seattle penalty helped the Winterhawks regain the lead. Noebels went off for Slashing and Troy Rutkowski (1, power play) made the Birds pay as he beat Calvin Pickard (0-1) glove side to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

Noebels (1) quickly made up for that penalty as he tied the game 3-3 when he went hard to the net to beat Carruth. Assisting his game tying goal were Shea Thoedore and Connor Sanvido.

The game remained knotted 3-3 until the 11:14 mark when Brendan Leipsec gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead. It looked as though Pickard had made the initial save but Leipsec chipped it past him and the Hawks had another lead.

Portland would get the first two goal lead of the game just 39 seconds later, and it would be the proverbial back breaker as Nicolas Petan (2) put them up 5-3.

A Ty Rattie (2) empty net goal would finish out the scoring as well as the T-Birds, 6-3.

Despite being out shot 46-24 the Birds were battling the Hawks very talented “B” roster (several players are still away at NHL camps) all the way up until the second half of the third period. Every time the Hawks scored the Birds were there to answer it. The problem as Noebels so adeptly stated in his post-game interview was that the Birds took bad penalties at inopportune times. Special teams would be the difference in the game with the Hawks going 2 for 5 while the Birds were 0 for 2.

With some young D-men Seattle is going to have to limit their penalties especially against teams like Portland, who will make you pay for your miscues. If there is one thing we can take from the first of 72 games it’s that the Birds will have very little margin for error this season…very little.

You have to like the fight the Birds showed through most of the game. I’m sure the coaching staff won’t be disappointed with the effort, but they should be disappointed that the team had every chance to win this one but in the end shot themselves in the foot with penalties and lack of execution on the PK.

On the plus side:

– All three of the Birds goals were even strength.

– Chance Lund uses his strength and skating ability to net his first goal.

– Both 16 year olds in the lineup (Green, Theodore) put up points.

– Seattle shows that they can battle and answer tough goals against.

On the minus side:

– Seattle is out shot 46-24.

– The Birds take bad penalties at bad times to allow Portland to gain momentum and finally have more gas in the tank and pull away.

– As with last season, the Birds have some trouble getting pucks to the net and miss a few great opportunities to score.

– The penalty kill needs work.

Some notes:

Jacob Doty and Mitch Elliot both have fights and both prevail. There was also a major ruckus when a Portland player threw a punch from the bench during the game.

Daniel Cotton was the backup goalie tonight as Michael Salmon was a scratch.

Branden Troock was a scratch and he is still listed as day to day.

– Before the game the Birds honored long time fan John Sumida who passed away on Wednesday. I knew John and he will be missed by his many friends.


My Northwest 3 stars:

1. Derrick Pouliot (four assists)

2. Brendan Leipsic (winning goal and an assist)

3. Marcel Noebels (one goal)

The Birds will travel to Portland next Saturday night to face the Winterhawks. Remember that every game is streamed live at My


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Game 1: Untimely penalties lead to the Birds demise on opening night vs. the Hawks