A burst of goals in the second period sunk Seattle in a 4-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks Saturday night at ShoWare Center.
Portland opened the scoring seven seconds into the second when Cody Glass beat goaltender Liam Hughes for a 1-0 lead. Keoni Texeira put the visitors up 2-0 at 8:37, while a third goal was added when Ryan Hughes lit the lamp.
“Bang, bang bang, it’s 3-0,” said T-Birds head coach Matt O’Dette. “We felt sorry for ourselves, but we snapped out of it in the third and pushed back. It was too little too late.”
Seattle’s leading goal scorer Nolan Volcan had to leave the game in the second period after taking a puck to the head. Even with a helmet, Volcan suffered a pretty significant welt and his status for Sunday’s rematch in Portland is to be determined.
In their last seven, Seattle has averaged just under two goals a game.
Missing Volcan was a blow to the struggling offense. “He’s one of our better players, but we’ve got guys who can step up,” explained Thunderbirds defenseman Turner Ottenbreit. The captain says it’s a sixty minute game, “I thought the team effort was there for forty minutes. We started slow in the second period and it was a downfall from there.”
O’Dette added, “We have to rely on our work ethic and grittiness. We rely on capitalizing on rebounds and bounces. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they’re don’t.”
In that stretch of seven games, Seattle has battled through two shootouts and two overtimes. That’s a lot of extra hockey that may be draining the team, but O’Dette says that’s life in the WHL.
The Thunderbirds hit the ice later this evening as they face-off against the Portland Winterhawks.