With two weeks left in the regular season, the Seattle Thunderbirds still have a lot of work to do in order to clinch a Western Hockey League playoff spot.
A lesson delivered by the Portland Winterhawks Sunday night at ShoWare after a dominating 7-4 thumping.
Portland jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period prompting Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette to take a timeout. It wasn’t effective. Cody Glass scored at 10:29 of the first to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
“It was not a good start,” said a dejected O’Dette. “They were more ready to play than we were.”
Even though Seattle got on the board after Mike MacLean beat Winterhawks goalie Shane Farkas to make it 3-1, O’Dette says the game was lost in the first ten minutes.
“Some of our guys were asleep, particularly our defensemen. We fought hard at the end. We can play with these guys, but not when you spot them three goals.”
Portland’s Kieffer Bellows recorded his first WHL hat trick with Glass assisting on all of them.
“You give them point blank chances, they’re going to score. Poor job containing those guys,” O’Dette lamented.
Center Matthew Wedman says the effort wasn’t there, “We came out flat. They had the extra jump.”
Left winger Nolan Volcan, who netted two goals, says it’s playoff mode with seven games left.
“You have a short memory. You lose a game, you bounce right back. We aren’t clinched (a playoff) yet. We got more work to do.”
Beating Portland has been a difficult task this season, despite a 5-4 shootout loss to the Birds Friday night in Portland, the Winterhawks lead the season series 7-0-1-2.
Now it’s time to refocus and re-energize for a key face-off Tuesday at home against Tri-City. The Americans sit three points ahead of Seattle in the wildcard race.
“The way we finished, it’s something to build on for Tuesday. It’s crunch time,” proclaimed Volcan. ”We gotta get these points. First and foremost get a playoff spot and try to set ourselves up the best we can. We just need to take it one game at a time. Keep climbing the standings and earn that playoff spot.”