Just as thoughts of a disastrous first-half conclusion began forming, Seattle (14-15-2-2) answered with two late goals from Donovan Neuls and Ryan Gropp to earn a 5-4 victory in front of 5,099 at the ShoWare Center.
For Seattle (13-15-2-2), the loss was its first to Portland this season and third in the last four games. The team played a much more energetic, focused and disciplined game after Friday’s 4-0 shutout loss to Tri-City.
Friday’s victory came on the heels of a dominant 4-1 win over Spokane Sunday when the team opened a 2-0 lead. Suddenly, Seattle (12-12-2-2) has won three of its last four after losing five of six.
Starting goaltender Taran Kozun provided 20 saves in his return to the Seattle (11-12-2-2) lineup, while Ryan Gropp scored two power-play goals to lead the T-Birds to a victory which helped salvage a three-game weekend.
Riding an emotional 3-2 win over the Silvertips, Seattle (10-12-2-2) opened a four-game homestand with a flat performance against the Ice. Since the departure of Barzal due to a lower-body injury, Seattle is 3-7. Comparatively, its opponent Saturday is 8-2 since the return of star center Sam Reinhart.
A late third period penalty on Seattle’s Justin Hickman led to the game-tying goal by Everett’s Graham Millar. As the 10th shooter in the shootout, Carter Cochrane scored to give the Tips a 3-2 win in the game between U.S. Division rivals.
In an even first period where shots on goal were 12 apiece, consecutive tripping penalties called on the T-Birds with under six minutes to play led to a 5-on-3 power play for the Chiefs who quickly capitalized.
Seattle (9-10-2-1) returns home for six of its next seven games after a 2-4 road swing through the Eastern Conference. The trip started off well enough with a 6-2 win over Prince Albert, only to end with losses in four of the final five games.
Kozun posted 37 saves and Justin Hickman scored both regulation goals as well as the lone shootout marker to lead the Thunderbirds to an important win as it heads on a 11-day, six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference.
In spite of 38 shots on goal, Seattle could not put a puck past Vancouver (7-8) goaltender Cody Porter in a 1-0 loss to a Giants squad that entered with a four-game losing streak. Vancouver’s Alec Baer scored the decisive goal, beating Taran Kozun at 12:46 of the third period.