Through the first three games, Seattle did an effective job of staying out of the penalty box and not handing the offensive juggernaut of Portland unnecessary man-advantages. That was not the case in Game 4.
After dropping Game 1 4-3 Saturday, Portland rebounded with a strong defensive effort in Game 2 behind 21 saves from Adin Hill.
Wardley’s hits set the tone for the way Seattle likes to play. Because of his presence, Seattle is able to match up well with most top lines around the Western Hockey League. When Wardley is on the ice, opponents notice.
In the 12 games over the month of February, the unit’s scoring production wasn’t consistent with their activity. Not one of the three forwards topped seven points for the month in which they combined for 18 as a group.
In front of a sold out crowd of 6,208 at the ShoWare Center Saturday, the Thunderbirds held a 30-13 shot advantage deep into the second period, yet trailed on the scoreboard 3-2. Seattle played much of the game in Portland’s zone, peppering Hill with shots, but the young Portland netminder was terrific.
Wardley, 20, missed the previous five games after being suspended by the Western Hockey League for a checking from behind penalty against Saskatoon on November 8. It was Wardley’s second suspension of the 2014-15 season.
Seattle (4-3-0-1) entered the first game of a two-night home-and-away double-header against Spokane with six defensemen only to fall to three able-bodied defenders late in the first period after Ethan Bear, Turner Ottenbreit and Jared Hauf all went off with separate ailments.
Late goals from forwards Justin Hickman and Brendan Troock carried Seattle to a statement-making 4-1 win over Portland, Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Goalie Taran Kozun had 41 saves and Seattle halted one of the greatest regular-season streaks in WHL history.
The win was also Seattle’s (20-9-1-3) first in regulation over the Winterhawks this season. Troock had two goals and an assist, and Danny Mumaugh improved to 10-5 thanks to 33 saves on 35 shots. In the sixth match-up between the two squads this season, each team was without at least one leading scorer.
Brendan Leipsic and Taylor Leier each scored two goals, while the team’s co-scoring leaders, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan, added two assists apiece to help carry the Hawks to their 10th consecutive win.