COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
                                Thunderbirds goalie Liam Hughes anticipates a shot during WHL play against Portland on Saturday night.

COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds Thunderbirds goalie Liam Hughes anticipates a shot during WHL play against Portland on Saturday night.

Thunderbirds soar past Winterhawks, end 7-game skid

Hughes makes career-high 51 saves in 6-4 win over Portland

  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 11:10am
  • Sports

Goalie Liam Hughes made a career-high 51 saves and Matthew Wedman had two goals to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 6-4 comeback victory over the Portland Winterhawks in front of 5,052 fans at the accesso ShoWare Center last Saturday night.

The win snapped the T-Birds’ seven-game losing streak.

Hughes’ previous high for saves in a season was 44 against the Kelowna Rockets in a 4-1 home win on Oct. 6. Hughes improved to 8-7-2-0 on the Western Hockey League season.

Portland (13-7-0-2) took a 2-0 lead before Seattle (8-9-3-0) responded.

Seattle cut the lead to one at 8:56 of the first period on Jared Davidson’s first goal of the season.

The T-Birds tied the game 2-2 on Samuel Huo’s goal later on in the first period.

Wedman scored two goals in 27 seconds early in the second period to put Seattle up 4-2.

Andrej Kukuca extended the T-Birds’ lead to 5-2 at 4:08 on a crazy sequence of events. As Portland goalie Dante Giannuzzi skated into the high left circle to get the puck back up to his teammates, Nolan Volcan intercepted the pass in the neutral zone with the goalie out of position. Volcan entered the zone and got his shot blocked by a Winterhawks defenseman. Kukuca got the rebound to the right of the net and centered it with the goalie trying to get into the crease. Giannuzzi fell down as Volcan took a second shot that was blocked, but Kukuca poked the puck into the net at the right post with Giannuzzi still on the ice and out of position.

Portland cut the lead to two goals at 9:20 of the third on a goal from Nick Perna.

Hughes and Volcan set up the T-Birds’ sixth goal. Hughes sent the puck from behind his net up the left wall where Volcan got it in the neutral zone. Volcan chipped the puck into the offensive zone, chased it down and then centered the puck to Zack Andrusiak for a breakaway. Andrusiak beat Giannuzzi over the glove for his 10th goal of the season at 13:30.

Portland outshot Seattle 55-36 in the game.

Giannuzzi had 30 saves on 36 shots, and his record is 1-2-0-0.

Up next

The T-Birds host the Calgary Hitmen at 7:35 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at the ShoWare Center.

Single-game tickets are on sale online on the T-Birds website 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 2018-19 season.

Scoring summary

• First period – 1, Portland, Gricius 11 (Hughes, Glass), 2:02 (pp). 2, Portland, Hanus 2 (Giannuzzi), 7:59. 3, Seattle, Davidson 1 (Bauer, Schaufler), 8:56. 4, Seattle, Huo 3 (Carpendale, Mount), 15:38. Penalties – Hamaliuk, Sea (checking to the head), :21. Hanas, Por (interference), 5:05. Newkirk, Por (roughing), 20:00. Kubicek, Sea (roughing), 20:00.

• Second period – 5, Seattle, Wedman 6 (Volcan), 5:10. 6, Seattle, Wedman 7 (Kukuca, Kubicek), 5:37. Penalties – Volcan, Sea (cross checking), 7:06. Hughes, Sea (interference-served by Mount), 9:31. Gricius, Por (high-sticking), 12:02. Mount, Sea (interference), 13:44. Kukuca, Sea (slashing), 16:21.

• Third period – 7, Seattle, Kukuca 5 (Volcan, Wedman), 4:08. 8, Portland, Perna 1 (Jarvis, Newkirk), 9:20. 9, Seattle, Andrusiak 10 (Volcan, Hughes), 13:30. 10, Portland, Gricius 12 (Newkirk, Glass), 19:26 (pp). Penalties – McNelly, Sea (elbowing), 5:29. Savey, Sea (roughing), 5:29. Fromm-Delorme, Por (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:29. Freadrich, Por (roughing), 5:29. Newkirk, Por (cross checking), 15:56. Hamaliuk, Sea (interference), 19:02.

• Shots on goal – Seattle 14-8-14 36, Portland 16-17-22 55. Goalies – Seattle, Hughes 55 shots-51 saves (8-7-2-0); Portland, Giannuzzi 36-30 (1-2-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 0-3; Portland 2-5. A – 5,052. Referees – Ryan Benbow, Steve Papp. Linesmen – Michael Bean, Nathan Van Oosten.

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