Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seattle comes back to edge Portland 5-3

Not enough people outside of the U.S. Division know about Seattle defenseman Ethan Bear. The signed Edmonton Oilers' prospect was left off the Canadian U-20 team two years in a row despite being among the league's leading scoring d-men. Bear scored twice and added two assists en route to a come-from-behind 5-3 Seattle in over Portland Saturday night in Kent. The Thunderbirds scored three straight goals in the game's last period as they took a game that Portland appeared to be holding tight and won it in regulation, earning an important two points. Ryan Gropp, Mathew Barzal, Donovan Neuls and Keegan Kolesar each added two points in the Seattle win. Portland was led by three points from Keegan Iverson and two from Caleb Jones.

It looked to be a scoreless first period, until Ethan Bear powered home a one-timer off a feed from Ryan Gropp with just 40 seconds remaining in the period. Gropp drew Caleb Jones over to him at the blue line and fed a nice pass right to an onrushing Ethan Bear. Bear quickly fired the puck past Portland goalie Shane Farkas for the 1-0 lead.

Keegan Iverson helped the Hawks get even in the second period with a blind backhand pass from the corner right into the slot for  Henri Jokiharju to beat Seattle goalie Rylan Toth with a wrist shot. The goal was Jokijarju's eighth this season and came on the power play. Bear helped Seattle retake the lead as he worked to an open area and waited for Keegan Kolesar to knife through the defense and drop a pass across to him in space. Jones got that one back around five minutes later on a great individual effort. He flew up the ice while both teams were skating four aside and stomped on the brakes just inside the blue line. He then powered a slap shot past Toth to make it 2-2.

The game was a tight one entering the third period. The teams were tied and Seattle had just one more shot on net than the Hawks. Possession was also likely near 50:50. Portland took the early third period lead behind a goal from team captain Keegan Iverson. On a three-on-three rush up the ice, Iverson looked off both Toth and the defense before cutting to the middle and wiring a shot past Toth's blocker. The goal was Iverson's 17th of the year. Bear helped Seattle tie the game for the third time on the power play with 10:10 left. Bear's slap shot from the point was tipped in by Donovan Neuls at the net-front. The goal was initially given to Bear, leading Seattle fans to throw hats on the ice, thinking he had netted a hat trick. Eventually the goal was granted to Neuls. Then the "teenager line" put home the game-winner with 6:47 left. Sami Moilanen skated hard around the net and got a pass to the other side of the net where Neuls backhanded a pass to the far post. Tyler Adams was there to direct home the rebound and it was 4-3. Seattle put the game away with a goal as Portland was pressing. A long outlet pass from Bear to Keegan Kolesar sent him in on a two-on-one with Ryan Gropp. Kolesar dished to Gropp and the N.Y. Rangers' prospect put it away.

Shane Farkas stopped 25 of 28, while Farkas turned away 27 of 32.

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