T-birds Earn Point in First Game of 2022 – Seattle Thunderbirds

KENT, WA. – The Seattle Thunderbirds returned to action for the first time in two weeks, beating the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 in overtime on Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Seattle hadn’t played since New Year’s Eve. Their two games scheduled for last weekend have been postponed due to weather, travel and Covid issues. Despite the loss, the T-Birds remain second in the US division. The T-Birds will be back on home ice tomorrow to host the Everett Silvertips. Game time is 6:05 p.m

Despite being idle and still not at full strength, the T-Birds dominated much of the action, overtaking Portland 51-22. Head coach Matt O’Dette said he expected some rust due to the break and limited practice time, but liked what he was seeing of his players. “We definitely can’t fault the way we played. The effort was there. The persistence was there and came back in the third period, two goals down. Lots of positive things to take away from us.” He added that there were some details to be cleaned up, but overall he was happy with the performance. “A really impressive game for us based on the past few weeks.”

Possibly due to the stalemate of a two-week hiatus, the Thunderbirds started slow, giving up the game’s first goal at the 1:37 mark of the first period, off the stick of Portland’s James Stefan. The T-Birds had an answer when Conner hit Roulette at 6:08 on the power play, helped by Jared Davidson and Kevin Korchinksi. It was roulette’s first game in almost a month after missing three weeks due to Covid.

Portland took the lead at 1:24 p.m. with a goal from Tyson Kozak. Seattle then lost Jordan Gustafson to injury near the end of the first when he was checked into the boards behind the Seattle goal by Cross Hanas. Hanas was assessed a five-minute major and in-game misconduct.

Unfortunately, the T-Birds couldn’t capitalize on the lengthy power play, which also included a full two-minute 5-on-3, after the Winterhawks threw another penalty early in the second period. O’Dette said they could have performed better. “I think we were a bit shocked and worried about Gus. I think that was part of it, not quite focused enough for this one.”

The Winterhawks would extend their lead to 3-1 when Kozak scored again four minutes from time in the second half.

The Thunderbirds came back roaring to tie it in the third. First, Jared Davidson converted on the power play at 5:52. Roulette and Korchinski were credited with the assists. Then, twenty seconds later, Gabe Ludwig cleaned up a rebound from a Nico Myatovic shot and the game was tied by three. Lucas Ciona had the second helper.

Seattle was awarded a penalty when time ruled up and Portland scored a power-play goal with the first shot of overtime when Stefan scored his second goal of the night.


Since making some minor adjustments to their powerplay three games ago, the Thunderbirds are 6-on-14 with a man advantage, which O’Dette has taken note of. “I found our power play generally good. We had tons of good looks and a lot of opportunities.”

Seattle still has a number of players on Covid protocol, including Reid Schaefer, who is their top scorer in the season series against Portland.

Jared Davidson has scored in three of his last four games and has six points in that span (3g, 3a).

Earlier this week, NHL Central Scouting released its midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Three T-Birds, Kevin Korchinski, Jordan Gustafson and Reid Schaefer, made the list.

Full box score: WHL Network