Seattle opened the scoring in the first period, behind a power play goal from Ethan Bear. Seattle moved the puck around smoothly on the man advantage, ultimately having Mathew Barzal work a cross-ice pass to an open Bear, who one-timed a shot right over Adin Hill's right shoulder and into the net. It is likely that Hill never saw the shot, as Portland defenseman Jack Dougherty went down to block it. Portland's best chance of the period, was late in the session, as Caleb Jones led a rush and fired a diagonal drop pass to a rushing Alex Overhardt. The 18-year-old center could not quite get the back part of his stick blade on the puck and thus could not take advantage of a wide open net. If Overhardt was right-handed it is very likely that he would have buried the chance.
Portland did tie the game in the second period on a great, individual effort from Rihards Bukarts. The overage left-wing caught a pass from Cody Glass in the neutral zone and quickly put on the after burners. He blew past Ethan Bear, who had been skating right with him, and got in alone on Bow. He smartly waited out the goalie and got him to go down. Bukarts then reached out to his right and slipped the puck past the down and out goalie. The tie game was short lived for Portland as Seattle took back the one-goal lead 1:35 later. Scott Eansor cleanly won a face off against Dominic Turgeon and line-mate Donovan Neuls teed up a shot for Nolan Volcan. He was able to sneak a shot over Hill's right shoulder, as the goalie was screened by a teammate. I look at the shot multiple times, as I thought at first it was tipped. It was not, Hill just never saw it through the maze of bodies. The Winterhawks had a couple great looks in the period, but Rihards Bukarts wired a shot wide of a gaping net from a tight angle and Alex Schoenborn beat Bow on a breakaway, but had the puck roll off his stick.
The third period, was a thing of beauty. Both teams played at a playoff-like tempo and created fantastic looks. Ryan Hughes saved a goal for Portland, as Seattle's Ryan Gropp sneaked a shot through Hill and onto the goal line. The heads up play is just an example of how aware the young forward is on the ice and the amazing on-ice vision he has. He often seems to know where a play is going to end up, well before it actually does. Hill also made two great goal-line saves. One time, he was down and out to the right of his net and dove back, just in time to snag an Alexander True shot with his glove. He also robbed Barzal, who had a wide open net to look at as well, after a crazy play, took Hill out of his net. Bow stood tall on Portland's best looks in the game's final frame as well. Besides Hughes' post-strike, Dominic Turgeon had a great look off a really good pass from Blake Heinrich and Brendan De Jong got in tight and nearly picked the near-side corner on Bow. The Winterhawks played well, but just could not solve Bow when it mattered.
Portland's power play was 0/2, while Seattle's was 1/3.
-Jack Dougherty took another minor penalty against Seattle. He took three in their last game, two of which Seattle scored on. The T-birds were not able to score on the power play he gave them, but did so on one his blue line mate Keoni Texeira gave them. The Hawks' d-men need to be much better at avoiding the sin bin in big games like this.
-Blake Heinrich had his three-game point streak snapped, but still played extremely well. It seems obvious that he is really feeling the game out right now. He is picking the right time to jump up into the play, without giving up a chance the other way.
-Dominic Turgeon was just awful at the face off dot, yet again against Seattle. He was 28% on the night and lost two of three in the game's final minute, while his team had pulled their goalie for an extra-attacker. Cody Glass was actually more effective late in the game, as he won his last two draws against Seattle's best face off guy; Scott Eansor.
-Tanner Nagel had a scary moment in the second period. He threw a hit along the Seattle bench-boards and had the team's gate give way on him. He then fell into the bench awkwardly and luckily did not suffer an injury.
-When Portland was struggling with controlling possession in the first period, their best player was Caleb Jones. He consistently moved the puck out of his own zone under pressure, all the while, driving possession the other way.
-Portland next plays Tuesday night in Everett and currently holds a one-point lead over Spokane for third in the U.S. Division.
Winterhawks in the NHL:Saturday:
-Matt Dumba set up a power play goal with just over five minutes to play, allowing Minnesota to force overtime in their 3-2 shootout win over Buffalo.
-Ryan Johansen assisted on the goal that sparked a Nashville comeback, as the Predators beat Colorado 5-2.
-Sven Baertschi had two assists and Luca Sbisa had one, as the Vancouver Canucks took down San Jose 4-2.
-Matt Dumba scored his 10th goal of the year, but Minnesota fell to St. Louis 4-2.
Winterhawks in the AHL:Saturday:
-Rob Klinkhammer set up Bakersfield's first goal in their 3-2 victory over San Jose.
-Nic Petan notched an assist for Manitoba, but the Moose were blown out by the Texas Stars 6-1.
-Brendan Leipsic was returned to the AHL's Marlies again and had two assists in their 5-4 loss to Utica. Travis Ehrhardt had an assist and scored a power play goal in the Comets' win.
-Ty Rattie scored a shorthanded penalty shot goal for Chicago, but it was not nearly enough as Milwaukee won their second straight over Chicago 5-2. Taylor Aronson had two assists in the Admirals' victory.
-With Lake Erie down 2-0 to Rockford in the third period, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a power play goal. The Icehogs hung on for the one-goal win though.
-Craig Cunningham scored in his return to the AHL, but Springfield fell to Syracuse 6-3.
Winterhawks in the ECHL:Saturday:
-Cam Reid had an assist for Reading, as they fell to Wheeling 4-3.
-Thomas Frazee set up the lone Atlanta goal, as the Gladiators lost to Greenville 6-1.
-It was a really poor return to the ECHL for Mac Carruth. He was chased from his net 5:17 into the second period, after giving up his third goal on just 15 shots. He got the loss for Indy and they fell to Cincinnati 5-1.
-Miles Koules got a shot at his former team, in just his second game since being traded from Quad City to Wichita. He got sweet revenge as he scored the overtime winner in the Wild's 4-3 win over the Mallards.
-William Wrenn got his 31st assist of the season, but Alaska fell to Idaho 2-1.
-Kevin Young provided a goal and assisted on the game-winning-goal as Reading edged Norfolk 3-2.
-Troy Rutkowski had an assist in Evansville's 4-2 loss to Wichita. Since acquiring Miles Koules, the Thunder have rattled off three-wins in a row. Not bad for a team that has 14 wins in 59 games this season overall.