Game 33: Thunderbirds defeat the Winterhawks in Kent
(15-11-3-4) Seattle Thunderbirds 4, (25-9-0-3) Portland Winterhawks 2
Pickard with 50 saves…Dillon with three points
KENT– The Thunderbirds end their six game home skid and finish off the first half of the season by defeating the Winterhawks behind a 50 save effort from Calvin Pickard.
The Birds scored on their first shot of the match at the 3:10 mark of the first period. What looked like a harmless shot by Brendan Rouse (6) ended up squeaking past Mac Carruth (16-7-0-1) to give his team the early 1-0 lead. Assists were from Burke Gallimore and Brenden Dillon.
At 10:44 the teams skated four on four when Colin Jacobs was called for Kneeing and Brendan Leipsic was called for Cross Checking in retaliation.
With 17 seconds left the Birds went up 2-0 when Jacobs knocked in his 15th of the season. There were assists from Dillon and Charles Wells.
Seattle would go into the first intermission up 2-0 despite being out shot 22-11.
The Birds started the second period shorthanded because Scott Ramsay was called for Roughing during a scrum at the end of the first period. Portland’s Brad Ross got a 10 minute misconduct. Portland did not convert on the power play. They got two shots on net.
The Winterhawks went back to the power play at 4:04 of the second period. Erik Bonsor was called for Cross Checking. They didn’t score and there were two shots.
Portland went on their third power play at the 9:27 mark as Dillon went to the box for High Sticking. With two seconds remaining in the penalty, Tyler Alos was called for High Sticking giving Portland another power play chance. Wells had a shorthanded breakaway opportunity and slapped one into the pads of Carruth, who made the save. Portland scored with just two seconds remaining on the power play when Leipsic (10) chipped one past Pickard (15-9-2-4) to make it a 2-1 game. The goal was scored at 13:24.
The Birds would get their first power play chance at 15:37. Ross was assessed a double minor for Roughing while Rouse got a Roughing minor. They took advantage when Luke Lockhart (13) put one past Carruth to give the Birds a 3-1 lead. Jacobs and Dillon had the assists. Time of the goal was 16:37.
The Birds took that lead into the third period. They out shot Portland 16-14 in the period with Portland having the overall edge 36-27.
Some more four on four play at the 2:15 mark of the third period as Teal Burns was called for Goaltender Interference and Ramsay was called for Roughing. Just 25 seconds later Riley Boychuk was called for Slashing giving the Birds a four on three power play chance. Seattle went up 4-1 as Gallimore (18) rocketed a slap shot past Carruth at 3:58. Dillon got the assist.
The Winterhawks came right back to make it a 4-2 game when Troy Rutkowski (6) shot one past Pickard at 4:58.
Ramsay went to the box for the third time when he was called for High Sticking at 5:15. The Hawks did not convert.
With 53 seconds left Portland pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Seattle killed off the remaining seconds and win the game 4-2.
The Birds have now defeated the Winterhawks in three out of four meetings (3-0-0-1) which is a stark contrast to last season where they lost all 12 meetings. “We faced them early and it’s been a while since we’ve played them,” said Rob Sumner.
It’s also been odd the way the Birds and Portland have always seemed to face each other this season with both teams having players away at camps or tournaments. “We’re not in charge of who is out of the lineup for them and we certainly aren’t getting ahead of ourselves (with regard to the season series),” remarked Sumner.
Pickard had to face 52 shots, making 50 saves but Portland was basically taking shots from everywhere as they usually do. Sumner was asked about the high shot total. “There were a lot of outside shots, we might have made those shots a little too easy but picks (Calvin Pickard) took care of that.”
Brenden Dillon had a solid game with three assists and going into the break he has 29 points. “He’s a real premier player night in, night out,” said Sumner. “It’s been great to see his development.”
Winning percentage wise the Thunderbirds sit at 4th place in the Western Conference at the break. They would be 1st in the B.C. Division. Seven of the 10 teams in the Conference have between 32-39 points. Sumner was asked about the second half of the season in such a tight race. “Every game has real meaning, the are no real weaknesses in the Western Conference.”
In recapping the first half of the season Sumner said there are some real positives and also some things that need to improve. “I think the positives are the power play which has taken a real step, it had been our Achilles’ heel in the past. We work hard, we certainly have things to work on, I’m well aware of that. We’re not celebrating anything, but we have showed character.”
That wraps up the first half of the Seattle Thunderbirds season. Stay tuned for some articles during the break as I give my thoughts on the Birds play thus far and what lies ahead.
The next game will be on Tuesday December 28th at 7 pm at the ShoWare Center against the Spokane Chiefs. It can be heard live at MyNorthwest.com.
–The Thunderbirds home record improves to 5-6-1-2.
-The Birds record against the U.S. Division improves to 6-6-0-3.
– F Marcel Noebels and D Dave Sutter were not in the lineup as they are away at their respective camps getting ready to play in the World Juniors.
– Seattle was 2 for 2 on the power play, Portland was 1 for 5.
,1st Period-1, Seattle, Rouse 6 (Gallimore, Dillon), 3:10. 2, Seattle, Jacobs 15 (Dillon, Wells), 19:42. Penalties-Leipsic Por (cross checking), 10:44; Jacobs Sea (kneeing), 10:44; Ross Por (cross checking, 10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Ramsay Sea (roughing, roughing), 20:00.
2nd Period-3, Portland, Leipsic 10 (Morrow, Rattie), 13:24 (PP). 4, Seattle, Lockhart 13 (Jacobs, Dillon), 16:37 (PP). Penalties-Bonsor Sea (cross checking), 4:04; Dillon Sea (high sticking), 9:27; Alos Sea (high sticking), 11:25; Ross Por (roughing, roughing), 15:37; Rouse Sea (roughing), 15:37.
3rd Period-5, Seattle, Gallimore 18 (Dillon), 3:58 (PP). 6, Portland, Rutkowski 6 (Petan, Ross), 4:58. Penalties-Burns Por (inter. on goaltender), 2:15; Ramsay Sea (roughing), 2:15; Boychuk Por (slashing), 2:41; Ramsay Sea (high sticking), 5:15.
Shots on Goal-Portland 22-14-16-52. Seattle 11-16-5-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 5; Seattle 2 / 2.
Goalies-Portland, Carruth 16-7-0-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Seattle, Pickard 15-9-2-4 (52 shots-50 saves).
Referees-Brett Iverson (24), Sean Raphael (28).
Linesmen-Zach Brooks (26), Chris Carlson (92).