T-Birds can’t complete weekend sweep, lose to Portland 5-2
KENT – For about a period and a half on Saturday night it looked like the Seattle Thunderbirds were going to cruise to their second win in as many nights against Portland.
Instead, the T-Birds watched as the Winterhawks stormed back to score five unanswered goals, erasing Seattle’s two-goal lead on their way to a 5-2 win at the ShoWare Center.
Alex Schoenborn was the star for Portland as he picked up a hat trick to pace the Winterhawks.
Seattle built its lead much the way they had the night before – with good puck possession and execution on the power play. But with the lead they took their foot off the gas, and when Schoenborn tipped a Keoni Texeira shot past Landon Bow, the game changed.
“We got a little complacent,” Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “They won a draw there and scored off it. That gave them life.”
The Winterhawks had life and started pushing to tie the game. They did that late in the second period when Rodrigo Abols put back a rebound after a Bow save.
The T-Birds struggled to find loose pucks in the crease on Saturday, something they had been good at in the previous stretch of games. Three of Portland’s goals were scored after Bow’s initial save.
For Portland, Adin Hill was sharp all night. He made 39 saves and kept the Winterhawks in it early and preserved the lead late.
“He made some good saves today,” Konowalchuk said of Hill. “In our end, our guy made some good saves and we didn’t get sticks around our net. They were able to find the rebounds and we didn’t find rebounds.”
Schoenborn scored twice in the third to give the Winterhawks the lead and then extend it. His second marker, which made it 3-2, was a highlight-reel worthy as he scored from his stomach, again on a rebound.
He would get the hat trick mid-way through the third period on a power play to make it 4-2 and put the T-Birds in a big hole. Seattle had its chances in the third period, but Hill was strong in net and kept them at bay.
Dominic Turgeon ended any hope for Seattle with an empty net tally in the last minute of play.
Seattle allowed 36 shots on goal, which is well above their season average of 27 shots per game.
“We weren’t as sharp and when we got up 2-0 we got complacent and they had some life and kept coming,” Konowalchuk said. “We do have to be sharper defensively, the details slipped a little bit.”
The T-Birds scored two power-play goals on Saturday night, the first coming when Scott Eansor tipped a Jerret Smith shot past Hill. That brought down a rain of stuffed animals as it was Teddy Bear Night as the ShoWare center.
In the second period, Seattle extended the lead to 2-0 when Keegan Kolesar fired a wrist shot past Hill on the power play for his third goal in two nights.
Getting power-play goals is good, but Seattle has struggled to score when playing five-on-five lately. In its last five games, Seattle has scored 16 goals, but only four of those have been at even strength.
“We’re not putting the puck in the net the way I’d like,” Konowalchuk said of playing even strength. “We were controlling some play five-on-five and I thought yesterday in their building we controlled some play. We still want to find a way to score some goals five-on-five.”
In the end, the T-Birds couldn’t complete the weekend home-and-home series sweep and in the process missed an opportunity to pull closer to Everett in the U.S. Division standings. The Silvertips lost their second straight game Saturday night in Red Deer and still hold a five-point lead on second-place Seattle.
The T-Birds will be off until they start a busy stretch next weekend with three games in three nights, including a big one in Everett on Saturday.
• Saturday was the 13th Teddy Bear game in T-Birds history. Scott Eansor gets the honor of scoring the goal this year. Last year Jared Hauf scored the Teddy Bear goal and before that it was Shea Theodore.
• Donovan Neuls was held off the scoresheet on Saturday, ending his four-game goal scoring streak.
• Portland’s first goal of the game ended Bow’s goalless streak at 151 minutes, 34 seconds.
Follow Andy Eide on Twitter @andyeide.