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T-Birds Falter in Portland

Portland OR. –Conner Roulette scored their lone goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds dropped a, 5-1, decision to the Portland Winterhawks Saturday at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The loss snapped the T-Birds modest two-game winning streak. Seattle returns home to the accesso ShoWare Center to host the Spokane Chiefs at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Seattle Head Coach Matt O’Dette says it just wasn’t their night as his team struggled to create a consistent attack. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a game like that. Nothing worked for us, no aspect of our game was good. Just not our night.”

Portland jumped out on top early when Gabe Klassen scored at 1:47 of the opening period. Despite being out shot 22-9 in the opening frame, the T-Birds stayed within striking distance thanks to a 21-save effort in the period by goalie Thomas Milic. O’Dette said Milic, who finished with 44-saves, was the lone bright spot on the night for the T-Birds. “Oh, he was great. Thank goodness he was back there. He gave us a chance to be in striking distance,” adding, “It could have got ugly there if he was not in the net.”

Seattle (21-10-4-0) forged a tie at 7:51 of the second period, thanks to Roulette’s 13th goal of the season, assisted by Jordan Gustafson and Jeremy Hanzel.  But the T-Birds ran into penalty trouble and the Winterhawks regained the lead with a power play goal  from Tyson Kozak at the 14:02 mark.

“The flow of the game wasn’t going well for us.” said O’Dette, “We’d string together a couple of shifts, then there’d be something to kill our momentum.”

Portland tacked on another Kozak power play goal at 8:47 of the third. They added an empty net goal at 19:10 from Cross Hanas, then Luke Shelter scored with seven seconds remaining. The loss dropped the Thunderbirds into third place in the U.S. Division, a point behind Portland, though Seattle has two games in hand.

O’Dette was confident his players will bounce back from this performance. “We’ve got a resilient group. Tonight, was not our night. We’ll recover and regroup and get back on track.”

 

T-BIRDS EXTRAS

After Tuesday’s game at home, the T-Birds face a three-games-in-three-nights weekend.  They travel to Spokane Friday, hosts Portland next Saturday, then head up to Everett Sunday to face the Silvertips.

Next Saturday’s home game versus Portland is also Teddy Bear Toss Night to benefit the Forgotten Children’s Fund. Game time is 6:05 and tickets are still available at seattlethunderbirds.com

Full Boxscore: WHL Network

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