KENT, November 23, 2013 - The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Portland Winterhawks at the ShoWare Center Saturday night, winning 5-4 in overtime. The win gives Seattle six points in their last five games and puts their record to 13-9-1-3. The overtime loss drops Portland to 18-5-2-1.
Puck control was a challenge from the get-go in overtime. Defense reigned, resulting in only one shot on goal for each team in the first three minutes. Seattle was able to hold it in the offensive zone twice early on, but sent several shots wide before their attack dissolved. After two cross-ice passes just missed their target, the T-Birds found a lane and scored to end the game. Alexander Delnov had the game winner from just in front of the crease.
Justin Myles was in net for the T-Birds and got the win, running his record to 7-4-0-0. Brendan Burke started his 22nd game for the Winterhawks and now has a record of 16-4-2-1.
Bad blood between the rivals came to a head quickly in the form of a fight. Physical play increased for both sides as a result. After knocking off the net, Portland was denied a goal by Myles when the goalie's right leg managed to kick aside a sharp-angled shot. Possession battles ensued until another brouhaha between the two clubs.
Portland's tempers boiled over first, giving the T-Birds a power play. Mathew Barzal narrowly missed a goal thanks to Burke's work in net. Burke was able to slide across and get his glove on Barzal's shot after a cross-ice pass left the rookie untouched in front of the net. This was the best chance of the advantage, which expired without any scoring.
Both teams kept the physicality at a high level even while scoring lacked. Possession was lost frequently through body checks as neither team was willing to give an inch of ice without a fight. The puck rarely left the neutral zone during a stretch that saw no stoppages for five minutes. The Winterhawks were able to get some offense near the end of this stretch before Myles covered up the puck.
Seattle had another near miss following a faceoff in the neutral zone. Roberts Lipsbergs took the puck up the boards, getting it into the crease before Burke was able to dive across and cover it up.
This did little to tamper the T-Birds' offense as they took the lead on the subsequent faceoff. Justin Hickman poked the puck through the goalie for his seventh goal of the season. Barzal had the only assist following his faceoff win.
The visitors came back with a vengeance on offense, but Seattle was able to turn them aside at each turn before earning another power play. Portland's Taylor Leier scored a shorthanded goal at 18:29 of the first period penalty thanks to a 2-on-1 rush, tying the game at one. Seattle wasn't able to score during the remaining minute of their power play, but did have strong possession with multiple chances at the lead.
With the scored tied at one, Portland ended the first period outshooting the home team 16-14.
High-sticking against the Winterhawks started the period off right for Seattle, giving them their third power play of the game just 12 seconds into the second. The T-Birds were held scoreless despite opportunities around the net.
Strong forechecking from the T-Birds wasn't enough to keep Portland away from the offensive zone, where the visitors earned their first power play of the game. Seattle's defense continued to shine and kept the Winterhawks off the board, leaving the score at 1-1 halfway through the second period.
An increase in pace from Seattle brought the game back to the frequent possession battles of the game's beginnings, interspersed with close calls for both teams. Neither Portland nor Seattle were able to hold the puck for an extended period of time as the game began to rely on rushes both ways to create offense.
The Winterhawks rang the puck off the post later, allowing the home team to take possession for a 3-on-1 rush. While they didn't score, the T-Birds did hold the puck in the zone for minutes on end and just missed taking the lead again. The increase in offensive potency took its toll on Portland, who took another penalty to give Seattle its fourth power play of the game.
Regardless of the disadvantage, the Winterhawks remained on the attack. The visitors had three shots during Seattle's power play and twice nearly had their second shorthanded goal only to be stopped, first by Myles and then by a blocking defenseman covering an open net.
The power play over, Seattle sprang back to life. Two point shots and an attempted bank shot missed the net before the T-Birds scored and took the lead at 2-1. Lipsbergs took an Ethan Bear pass in the slot and was able to skate in close to the goal before firing the puck home. The goal was Lipsbergs' team-leading 15th and came at 18:05 of the second period.
The last minute of the second period was 4-on-4 after offsetting roughing penalties. Seattle took advantage of the open ice to stretch its lead to 3-1. Branden Troock scored his seventh goal of the year on a partial breakaway with a blistering shot from the left faceoff dot. Troock's goal came with 19 seconds left in the second period and was assisted by Scott Eansor.
Along with outscoring Portland 2-0 in the second period, Seattle outshot the visitors 8-6.
The third period started slow when neither team could consistently break through the neutral zone. An odd bounce off the end boards almost gave Portland a goal, only to have Myles recover in time to steer the puck away. The Winterhawks had several more shots blocked by the T-Birds before the ice shifted back in Seattle's favor.
A rush for the Winterhawks ended favorably when Keegan Iverson potted a goal from near the boards at 7:58 of the third period to make the score 3-2 Seattle. Alex Schoenborn and Dominic Turgeon had the assists.
The T-Birds battled back immediately to win another power play thanks to an interference call. Unable to score, the home team controlled the puck and peppered Burke with shots. Unfortunately, Portland's push back after the penalty's expiration gave the Winterhawks a man advantage, their second of the game.
Portland scored quickly, tying the game just four seconds after their power play began. Leier passed the puck across the crease to Nic Petan, who beat Myles to make the score 3-3 at 12:02 of the third.
The Winterhawks scored again two minutes later to take their first lead of the game. Brendan Leipsic tapped the puck into the net as it dribbled deep into the crease. Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand earned the assists.
Forced to increase their attack, Seattle found the offense it needed with three minutes left. Justin Hickman stole the puck in front of the net and scored his second of the night. The goal was unassisted and tied the game at 4-4.
An outburst of intensity flowed for the final two minutes of the period before the horn sounded, sending the game to overtime. Shots on goal were 14-12 in Seattle's favor in the third period.
The T-Birds will host the Saskatoon Blades Friday, November 29. at 7:35 pm at the ShoWare Center for their next game. Seattle will also be at home Saturday, November 30 when they host the Victoria Royals at 7:05 pm.
T-Birds single game tickets for the 2013-14 season are available online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.
T-Birds season tickets are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.
First period - 1, Seattle, Hickman 7 (Barzal), 13:51. 2, Portland, Leier 19 (Haar), 18:29 (sh). Penalties - Elliot, Seattle (major-fighting), 2:35. Alldridge, Portland (major-fighting), 2:35. Wardley, Seattle (major-fighting), 4:47. Cederholm, Portland (major-fighting), 4:47. De Champlain, Portland (interference), 5:00. Bjorkstrand, Portland (hooking), 17:26.
Second period - 3, Seattle, Lipsbergs 15 (Bear, Henry), 18:05. 4, Seattle, Troock 7 (Eansor), 19:41. Penalties - Iverson, Portland (high-sticking), 0:12. Henry, Seattle (roughing), 4:44. Viveiros, Portland (roughing), 14:03. Yakubowski, Seattle (roughing), 18:49. Petan, Portland (roughing), 18:49.
Third period - 5, Portland, Iverson 7 (Schoenborn, Turgeon), 7:58. 6, Portland, Petan 15 (Leier, Leipsic), 12:02 (pp). 7, Portland, Leipsic 17 (De Leo, Bjorkstrand), 13:59. 8, Seattle, Hickman 8 (unassisted), 16:43. Penalties - Texeira, Portland (interference), 9:15. Theodore, Seattle (cross-checking), 11:52.
Overtime - 8, Seattle, Delnov 10 (Barzal, Bear), 4:19. Penalties - No penalties.
Shots on goal - Seattle 14-8-14-3 39, Portland 16-6-12-1 35. Goalies - Seattle, Myles 35 shots-31 saves (7-4-0-0); Portland, Burke 39-34 (16-4-2-1). Power plays - Seattle 0-5; Portland 1-2. A - 4,622. Referees - Tyler Adair, Jeff Ingram. Linesmen - Kevin Boris, Ron Dietterle