Thunderbirds topple Winterhawks
A Seattle Thunderbirds team that had not scored more than two goals in seven consecutive Western Hockey League games found its scoring touch on Saturday in a 6-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington.
Jake Gricius scored two power-play goals for Portland, but the Winterhawks could not hold on to an early lead in a game that bucked the trends of both teams.
The Hawks (13-7-0-2, 28 points) had earned at least a point in seven consecutive games before Saturday.
The Thunderbirds (8-9-3-0, 19) were winless in their previous seven games.
Defenseman Clay Hanus scored his second career goal and defenseman Nick Perna notched his first for Portland, which lost despite outshooting Seattle, 55-36.
The Thunderbirds scored five goals in a row to build a 5-2 lead early in the third period. Goals by Matthew Wedman 37 seconds apart in the second period turned put Seattle ahead, 4-2.
Portland rookie 16-year-old goalie Dante Giannuzzi, in his third WHL game, took the loss.
Gricius gave Portland a 1-0 lead with an early power-play goal.
The goal was awarded after a video review showed the puck completely crossed the goal line behind Seattle goalie Liam Hughes. The goal was initially waved off by the referee behind the net.
Hanas made the score 2-0 Portland 8:02 in the game. His second goal of the season came when the rookie defenseman skated up the left wing and took a sharp angled shot that found its way inside the near post off of Hughes' pad.
Jared Davidson's first WHL goal off a rebound put Seattle on the board 8:56 into the game. After the Thunderbirds won an offensive zone faceoff, a shot from near the blue line was stopped by Giannuzzi's pad, and Davidson put home the rebound.
Samuel Huo scored 15:38 into the first to tie the score, finding a rebound after a Seattle faceoff win.
Wedman put Seattle ahead 5:10 into the second period thanks to Seattle's forecheck, then scored off the rush at 5:47 of the second.
Andrej Kukuca made the score 5-2 at 4:08 of the third period.
Perna's goal at 9:20 got Portland within two, but Zack Andrusiak's 10th of the year at 13:30 restored a three-goal lead for the Thunderbirds.
Giannuzzi (1-2) made 30 saves. Seattle's Hughes made 51 stops.
The Winterhawks went 2 for 5 on the power play. The Thunderbirds were scoreless on three power plays.
Portland plays its next three games at home, with Calgary visiting Moda Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday.