Brendan Williamson will remember his first career WHL goal – a game-winning shot with 3:39 left in the game – to lift the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks in front of 5,020 rowdy fans at the accesso ShoWare Center on Saturday night.
Seattle split the home-and-home series, falling to the Winterhawks 5-3 in Portland on Friday night.
The T-Birds (23-28-3-3) are in the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are three points behind the Kelowna Rockets (24-26-2-3) for the first wild-card playoff spot. The Rockets, who have a game in hand on the T-Birds, meet Seattle on March 6 in Kelowna in their fourth and final game of the season.
Williamson took a pass from Andrej Kukuca on the left wing and skated into the left circle. Williamson took a hard wrist shot and beat Portland goalie Dante Giannuzzi over the right shoulder. Williamson was mobbed by his teammates on the ice after he scored his first career goal.
Portland pulled Giannuzzi with 2:09 left in the game for an extra attacker. The T-Birds held off the Winterhawks to secure the win.
Portland took a 1-0 lead at 1:11 of the first period when Jonas Brondberg scored.
Seattle tied the game 1-1 at 10:29 of the first on a power-play goal by Matthew Rempe. Conner Roulette had the puck behind the goal line and centered it to Rempe on top of the crease. Rempe put the puck over Portland goalie Dante Giannuzzi’s right shoulder for his 11th goal of the season. Keltie Jeri-Leon had the second assist on the goal by retrieving the puck in the right corner and sending it to Roulette behind the net.
Roulette has a eight-game point streak which tied Conner Bruggen-Cate for the longest T-Bird point streak of the season.
Kai Uchacz put the T-Birds in front 2-1 at 3:13 of the second period. Williamson made a nice saucer pass from the left wing boards to Uchacz coming down the slot. Uchacz was in alone against Giannuzzi and beat the goalie over the glove. Cade McNelly had the second assist.
Portland tied the game 2-2 on a goal by Seth Jarvis at 6:08 of the second.
The T-Birds’ next game is at 5:05 p.m. Sunday against the Prince George Cougars at the ShoWare Center.
Single-game tickets are on sale online and at the ShoWare box office.
Fans who purchase the 24-flex ticket package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the 2019-20 season.
First period – 1, Portland, Brondberg 9 (Hanus, Dureau), 1:11. 2, Seattle, Rempe 11 (Roulette, Jeri-Leon), 10:29 (pp). Penalties – Stefan, Por (hooking), 5:48. Mannek, Por (interference), 9:30. Dureau, Por (slashing), 12:35.
Second period – 3, Seattle, Uchacz 2 (Williamson, McNelly), 3:13. 4, Portland, Jarvis 36 (Newkirk, Quigley), 6:08. Penalties – Bauer, Sea (roughing), 20:00. Bruggen-Cate, Sea (roughing), 20:00. Uchacz, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00. Hanus, Por (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00. Jarvis, Por (roughing), 20:00. Dureau, Por (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.
Third period – 5, Seattle, Williamson 1 (Kukuca), 16:21. Penalties – Gilliss, Por (slashing), 10:11.
Shots on goal – Seattle 11-13-9 33, Portland 8-11-13 32. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 32 shots-30 saves (19-19-3-3); Portland, Giannuzzi 33-30 (6-1-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-; Portland 0-1. Referees – Jeff Ingram, Brett Iverson. Linesmen – Nick Bilko, Nathan Van Oosten.