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T-Birds Push Past Portland

KENT, Wash. –Kyle Crnkovic and Nolan Allan each had a goal and two assists as the Seattle Thunderbirds raced past the Portland Winterhawks, 6-1, Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Twelve different skaters earned at least a point as Seattle improved to 15-3-1-0 on the season. The Thunderbirds finish up the weekend with a road game Sunday. They travel to Kennewick to face the Tri-City Americans at 4:05 p.m.

Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette said his team played with the right formula. “I thought that was a complete team effort. I think every guy chipped in. It’s contagious when every line is buying in to the way we’re supposed to play.  When it’s in place you can feel it and we could feel that formula tonight.”

Seattle opened the scoring late in the first period. Allan rifled home his first with Seattle since being obtained in a trade last week from Prince Albert.  The goal came after a Thunderbirds power play. Though Seattle didn’t score on the man advantage, Allan said it gave the T-Birds momentum. “The power play helped us. We got a lot of zone time from that. We were able to work them down low as a result of that.”

Seattle extended their lead with a pair of goals late in the second period.  The first came shorthanded when Crnkovic finished off a series of passes from Kevin Korchinski and Reid Schaefer.  Then with just a few seconds remaining in the period, Nico Myatovic wired home a power play goal with Allan and Crnkovic earning the assists.

Jeremy Hanzel, who had an assist on the Thunderbirds first goal to extend his point streak to three games, said Seattle’s special teams play is beginning to round into form after struggling in a pair of losses to Portland earlier in the month. “It really set us back the first time we played them, but we worked on it, we got it down, and we’re doing really well now.”

The Thunderbirds didn’t sit back on their three-goal lead in the third period.  Just three minutes into the final period they made it a 4-0 game thanks to Bryce Pickford’s first goal of the season. After Portland broke through with a power play goal two minutes later, Seattle tacked on two more with Jared Davidson and Tij Iginla finding the back of the net.

O’Dette said the effort in this game was an example of the players buying in. “I think I sound like a broken record after some of our games, even our wins, how we’re not playing to our formula and our identity. Well tonight, that’s how it’s supposed to look. I think all facets of our game were sharp. The power play was sharp, the PK was tight and 5-on-5 we spent a lot of time in their end.” He said the goal now is to duplicate that effort every game.

After games in Kennewick Sunday and Portland Wednesday, Seattle returns home December 3rd to host the Victoria Royals.

T-BIRDS EXTRAS

Kyle Crnkovic has goals in three straight games and seven points (3g, 4a) in his last five games.

Mekai Sanders earned an assist on Seattle’s fourth goal. It was his first point since last March 18th when he registered an assist against Tri-City. Sanders would suffer a lower body injury in the very next game and spent eight months recovering.

Since returning from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Tij Iginla has three points (1g, 2a) in three games. His goal and assist against Portland was the first multiple point game of his WHL career.

Boxscore: WHL Network

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