Zack Andrusiak and Dillon Hamaliuk each had a goal and two assists Saturday night at accesso ShoWare Center to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 season opening victory over the Portland Winterhawks.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 11:11 of the first period on a power-play goal from Nolan Volcan. Simon Kubicek passed the puck to Zack Andrusiak on the right wing in the neutral zone. Andrusiak moved the puck to Volcan as he entered the offensive zone. Volcan took a shot from the right circle that rebounded off Portland goalie Shane Farkas right back to the team captain. Volcan put the rebound under Farkas for the team’s first goal of the season.
The Winterhawks tied the game 1-1 with a five-on-three power-play goal by Joachim Blichfeld at 14:54 of the first. Reece Newkirk and Jared Freadrich had the assists.
Portland outshot Seattle 12-11 in the first period.
The T-Birds struck for three goals in 5:13, two coming 48 seconds apart, early in the second period to take a 4-1 lead.
Dillon Hamaliuk set up the T-Birds go-ahead goal 50 seconds into the period. Hamaliuk got a loose puck in the high slot and stickhandled around two Portland defensemen forcing Farkas down. Hamaliuk then backhanded the puck to a wide open Andrusiak as the right post. Andrusiak slammed the puck into the open net for his first goal of the season.
Owen Williams and Matthew Wedman combined for the two goals in 48 seconds. One a three-on-one rush Andrusiak carried puck into the offensive zone on the right wing. Andrusiak dropped the puck for Williams who wired it over Farkas’ glove at 5:15.
Then Hamaliuk set up Wedman at 6:03 to make it a 4-1 game. Hamaliuk held off a Portland defenseman with his left arm and fed the puck to Wedman the left post. Wedman chipped the puck over a prone Farkas for the goal.
As good as the T-Birds started the second, goalie Liam Hughes finished the second stopping a penalty shot and a breakaway. At 14:23 of the of the second Seth Jarvis was awarded a penalty shot when he was tripped up on a breakaway. Jarvis whiffed on a shot from the slot but the puck kept moving and he went for a backhand shot that Hughes gobbled up.
Then with the T-Birds on the power play Hughes stopped Mason Mannek on a breakaway with four minutes left in the period.
Seattle had a 26-22 advantage in shots after two periods by outshooting Portland 15-10 in the second period.
The Winterhawks cut the T-Birds lead to two goals at 5:29 of the third period on a goal by Jarvis. Cross Hanas had the only assist.
Jarvis scored at 12:10 of the third to cut the T-Birds lead to one goal. Nick Cicek and Matthew Quigley had the assists.
Farkas headed to the bench with just over a minute left in the game for an extra attacker. Hamaliuk got to a loose puck just inside the Seattle blue line. Hamaliuk sent the puck the length of the ice and hit the empty net to seal with win.
The Winterhawks outshot the T-Birds 11-9 in the third period.
Hughes finished with 30 saves on 33 shots to get his first win of the season.
Farkas made 30 saves on 34 shots.
The T-Birds next game is Friday, September 28, at the Vancouver Giants at 7:30pm. They travel to Portland to take on the Winterhawks on Saturday, September 29, 6pm.
Their next home game is Saturday, October 6, against the Kelowna Rockets at 6:05pm at accesso ShoWare Center.