Portland Winterhawks Fall 3-0 in Final February Home Game vs Seattle Thunderbirds

Photo Credit: Keith Dwiggins

The Portland Winterhawks came up short against the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-0 Saturday night. This was Portland’s last home ice game for the month of February. The Winterhawks now have seven straight road games before returning home on March 4th.

This was meeting number seven this season between the Winterhawks and the Thunderbirds. In terms of head-to-head, Portland was 4-2 against Seattle coming into tonight’s match. This game in particular carried a bit higher stakes. Portland and Seattle entered tonight’s match tied for first place in both the Western Conference and the US Division.

With the stage set, both teams wanted to get off to hot starts in the first period. There was plenty of action, as there were 24 shots in the first period. However, Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic and Portland goaltender Dante Giannuzzi came ready to play. Both netminders would shut out the opposing offenses through the first 20 minutes of the game.

It would take until midway through the second period for someone to open up the scoring. With 8:02 remaining in the 2nd period, the Thunderbirds would be on their second power-play of the night. Brad Lambert would move the puck down low to Lucas Ciona. Ciona, unable to turn towards the net to shoot, looking for a pass from the goal line extended. He would find Kevin Korchinski just above the far faceoff circle. After receiving the pass, Korchinski moved toward the net. A fake from Korchinski would move a Winterhawk defender out of the way. Then, Korchinski rifled a wrist shot through two bodies and past Dante Giannuzzi’s glove side. With the power-play goal, the Thunderbirds had taken a 1-0 lead.

Despite a late penalty by Nico Myatovic for Seattle, Portland would be unable to equalize entering the 3rd period. However, starting the final period on the power play did help the Winterhawks’ momentum. Portland outshot Seattle 11-8 in the final 20 minutes of action. However, Thomas Milic was having a stand-out performance. To make matters worse for Portland, Seattle would find another goal. With 6:22 remaining in regulation, Brad Lambert would find a lucky bounce to put Seattle up 2-0.

Then, nearly a minute later, Seattle struck again. Nolan Allan would find Gracyn Sawchyn past two Winterhawk defenders in the neutral zone. Sam Popowich, seeing his opportunity, found a perfect position to turn the play into an odd-man rush. Sawchyn would draw in the last Winterhawks defenseman and then pass across to Popowich. Popowich would roof a wrist shot past the glove of Giannuzzi to extend Seattle’s lead.

With only 5:24 remaining in regulation, the Winterhawks’ offense would be stifled. Portland would run out of time to mount a comeback, and the Winterhawks would lose 3-0.

Portland takes to the road for the next two weeks. Their next game is Wednesday, Feb. 15th as they hit the road to take on the Spokane Chiefs with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.