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T-Birds Drop Heartbreaker to Winterhawks

Toomey with a goal and an assist, Pickard makes 52 saves in 4-3 loss to Portland

KENT, February 26, 2011 — The Portland Winterhawks scored with 33.9 seconds left in regulation to defeat the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-3 on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center.

Nino Niederreiter tallied his second goal of the night and 29th of the season with just seconds left in regulation to seal the win for Portland. Sven Bartschi registered the only assist on the goal.

The Winterhawks outshot the T-Birds 19-11 during a scoreless first period.

Portland (42-17-0-3) took a 1-0 lead at 2:08 of the second period on Sven Bartschi’s 29th goal of the season. Ty Rattie registered the only assist.

Seattle (22-31-4-5) responded quickly on Brendan Rouse’s 10th goal of the season just 37 seconds after Portland’s score. Center Travis Toomey attempted a forehanded wrap-around that was stopped by Portland goalie Keith Hamilton. Toomey regained control of the rebound and attempted a wrap-around the other way on his backhand. The attempt found its way to the front of the Winterhawks’ goal, where Rouse was perfectly positioned to jam the puck home and tie the game. Erik Bonsor had the second assist.

The T-Birds took a 2-1 lead at 9:37 of the second period on Chance Lund’s fifth goal of the season. After left wing Mitch Elliot was able to successfully clear the puck out of the Seattle zone and tie up a Portland defender, Lund gained control of the puck in the neutral zone with a full head of steam. The only Winterhawks’ defenseman back was Troy Rutkowski, who was taking away the passing lane between Lund and Elliot, who had jumped back into the play. Lund, skating through the right side of the slot, snapped a quick shot right underneath Hamilton to give Seattle its first lead of the game.

The Winterhawks tied the game 2-2 at 11:41 of the second period on an unassisted goal by Niederreiter. The goal was his 28th of the season.

After two periods, the game remained 2-2. Seattle outshot Portland 14-13 during the second period, but the Winterhawks still held a 32-25 overall lead in shots through 40 minutes of play.

Portland grabbed a 3-2 lead at 2:56 of the third period on Ryan Johansen’s 34th goal of the season. Derrick Pouliot and Tayler Jordan tallied the assists.

Toomey tied the game 3-3 for the T-Birds at 12:48 of the third period on his 20th goal of the season. Portland dumped the puck into the Seattle zone straight at goalie Calvin Pickard in an attempt to make a line change. Pickard, noticing a temporarily shorthanded Winterhawks’ team, made a tape-to-tape pass from his goal crease all the way to Toomey, who was waiting at the opposite end of the center red line. Toomey entered the right side of the Portland zone and fired a wrist shot that beat Hamilton above his left pad. The assist was Pickard’s first of the season.

Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard (22-29-3-5) stopped 52 of the 56 shots he faced.

Portland goalie Keith Hamilton (11-4-0-2) made 28 saves on 31 shots to earn the victory.

The T-Birds will host the Everett Silvertips tomorrow, Sunday night at 5:05 p.m. in another game that will have important playoff implications. Following the game versus Everett, Vancouver will come to town on Tuesday, March 1 in the final Two-for-Tuesday game of the season.

T-Birds single game tickets for the 2010-11 season are available online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.

T-Birds group tickets are currently on sale. Group tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period – No scoring. Penalties – Alos, Sea (hooking), 8:58. Aronson, Por (hooking), 11:28. Ross, Por (roughing), 20:00. Niederreiter, Por (roughing), 20:00. Alos, Sea (roughing), 20:00.

Second period – 1, Portland, Bartschi 29 (Rattie), 2:08. 2, Seattle, Rouse 10 (Toomey, Bonsor), 2:45. 3, Seattle, Lund 5 (Elliot), 9:37. 4, Portland, Niederreiter , 11:41. Penalties – Toomey, Sea (tripping), 19:02.

Third period – 5, Portland, Johansen 34 (Pouliot, Jordan), 2:56. 6, Seattle, Toomey 20 (Pickard), 12:48. 7, Niederreiter 29 (Bartschi), 19:26. Penalties – Dillon, Sea (tripping), 5:51. Lund, Sea (roughing), 13:04. Dillon, Sea (goaltender interference), 16:42.

Shots on goal – Seattle 11-14-6 31. Portland 19-13-24 56. Goalies – Seattle, Pickard 56 shots-52 saves (22-29-3-5); Portland, Hamilton 31-28 (11-4-0-2). Power plays – Seattle 0-2; Portland 0-5. A – 5,525. Referee – Pat Smith, Brett Montsion.Linesmen – Justin Hull, Bevan Mills.

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