Portland, OR. –Another late special teams goal was the difference as the Seattle Thunderbirds dropped a, 2-1, decision to the Portland Winterhawks at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland Sunday. The win gives Portland a two-game lead in the playoff series. Game three of the second round, best of seven matchup is back in Portland Wednesday. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
In Game One Saturday night in Kent, it was a late power play goal that ended up the difference in Portland’s 4-2 win. Sunday it was a shorthanded goal by the Winterhawk’s Gabe Klassen, with under four minutes left, that spelled doom for the T-Birds.
T-Birds head coach Matt O’Dette said it was another disappointing ending to a game the Thunderbirds played well enough to win. “Obviously you can’t give up a shorthanded goal at that point of the game. But scoring one and two goals is not enough either.”
After getting just one power play chance in Game One, Seattle had five chances on the power play in Game Two but failed to score. O’Dette said in a close game, those are opportunities they must capitalize on. “The power play needed to score. It needed to be better tonight, to execute better and create something for us and it didn’t do that.”
For the second straight game in the series, the T-Birds scored first as Lucas Ciona knocked home his fourth of the playoffs at 9:05 of the first period, assisted by Jared Davidson and Lukas Svejkovsky. Once again though, Seattle couldn’t extend the lead. “It’s nice to get the first goal,” said O’Dette. “That’s part of game management, but it’s fallen off from there.”
O’Dette said with two evenly matched teams, the margin for error is smaller. “We’re looking for that key goal at the right time but whether it’s good goaltending, the post, whatever the case may be, we haven’t been able to find it. “
Portland tied the game with a Tyson Kozak goal at 11:02 of the second period. In the third period the T-Birds came close to taking the lead only to have Kevin Korchinski’s shot ring off the post as Seattle skated 5-on-4.
Moments later Portland’s Cross Hanas was awarded a penalty shot but failed to convert. The T-Birds got one last power play chance but lost the puck in the attacking zone. The Winterhawks Jaydon Dureau took it into the Seattle end and got a shot on net. Goalie Thomas Milic made the save but as the T-Birds tried to skate back up ice they turned the puck over to Dureau who found a wide-open Klassen for the game winner.
While down in the series, O’Dette says the Thunderbirds are not out. “We know we’re a good team. We know what we’re capable of and we’re confident in our players.” He said his team is resilient and can play with any team in the league. “We’re not going away.”
Game four of the series will be at the accesso ShoWare Center Friday at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are on sale at seattlethunderbirds.com or at the ShoWare Center box office.
Portland’s game winning power play goal in Game One was scored at 16:21 of the third period. Their game winning shorthanded goal in Game two was scored at 16:22 of the third period.
Seattle made one lineup change for Game Two. Defenseman Chase Lacombe was a healthy scratch, replaced by Sawyer Mynio.
Full boxscore: WHL Network