Monday, March 13, 2017

Seattle overwhelms Portland late for a 6-3 win

Portland is not alone in the U.S. Division in feeling like they've let Seattle worm away with wins they should not have had. It's not that the Thunderbirds were outplayed in those games, they just have not had a full roster for most of the season. With Mathew Barzal out with an illness and starting goalie Rylan Toth leaving with "flu-like symptoms" after the first period, the scene was set for a Portland win. Instead Portland had to chase Seattle much of the night and was never out of it until a big Sami Moilanen penalty-shot goal did them in during the third period. Moilanen scoring a goal in this matter has been a re-occurring sight in Portland as he scored the shootout winner last time the teams played in the Rose City. Keegan Kolesar and Ryan Gropp each had two points apiece and Barzal's replacement: Alexander True netted two as well. True and Moilanen have been two of the major reasons the T-birds have been able to fight through the absences of many of their key players. Skyler McKenzie had two points for Portland in the loss.

After a scoreless first period during which Toth turned away all 11 shots he faced, things got really going in the second period. Turner Ottenbrei got the puck down low to Matthew Wedman and the young center lifted the puck over Portland goalie Shane Farkas to start the scoring. Just 53 seconds later, Caleb Jones sprung Skyler McKenzie in alone and Portland's leading goal-scorer beat Matt berlin with a backhand shot for his 40th goal of the year. After Dominic Turgeon led the way with 36 goals last year, Portland returned to the group of teams with 40-goal scorers. Then on a short-handed break, Donovan Neuls fed Nolan Volcan and the winger poked home the puck to give Seattle another one-goal lead. The after Farkas had robbed him multiple times, Ryan Gropp finally broke through for his 32nd of the season and a two-goal Seattle lead. He did so on the power play, when Keegan Kolesar and Alexander True set him up with some crisp passing. Portland cut the Seattle lead down to 3-2 on the very first goal in Portland for defenseman Shaun Dosanjh. After Farkas made a big kick save on one end the Hawks burst the other way and a Jake Gricius shot rebound out to a wide-open Dosanjh. He powered home his shot and netted just his fourth career goal in his 169th career game.

Alexander True gave Seattle another two-goal lead with yet another short-handed marker and Portland was behind the eight-ball down 4-2. 3:01 into the third period, though the Hawks got back within one s Keegan Iverson chipped in his 23rd of the year on the power play. That set the stage for Moilanen's penalty shot, where he made a similar deke to two weeks prior and beat Farkas for the 5-3 lead. Portland had their chances, but it really felt like they were chasing the game and Ethan Bear out them away with a late power play one-timer. That closed out the scoring at 6-3 and extended his point-streak to 15 games.

Farkas was stellar at the start but wilted under the high-quality Seattle chances, stopping 30 of 36. Berlin came on in relief of Toth and turned away 17 of 20.

Portland's power play went one-for-six but gave up two short-handed goals. Seattle's power play wen two-for-six and so they got three goals on special teams.

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