A sell-out crowd of 10,947 roared before the Portland Winterhawks Friday at the Rose Garden, as the Winterhawks overpowered the defenseless Seattle Thunderbirds 9-1.
The Winterhawks (44-17-0-3) smothered the Thunderbirds (24-32-4-5) on offense from the start, with stunning performances by Brad Ross and Nino Niederreiter early on in the game.
Portland scored first with just 2:38 into the game on a goal-mouth scramble by Ross to make it 1-0. At the 9:28 mark, Ross added another goal on a power play to make the lead 2-0. Portland built its lead to 3-0 at the 16:13 mark when Craig Cunningham shot one by goalie Calvin Pickard.
Portland extended their lead in the second period when Troy Rutkowski fired one in at the 4:27 mark to make the lead 4-0. Niederreiter scored late in the period to extend the lead 5-0.
Seattle replaced Pickard with Michael Salmon at the start of the third period, but fared no better. Ross scored again at the 5:28 mark, giving the Winterhawks a 6-0 lead. A few minutes later, Niederreiter scored to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead.
Luke Lockhart of the Thunderbirds did score for the visiting team to trim the lead 7-1. However, the Winterhawks never let up as Niederreitar scored his third goal of the game at the 11:12 mark, giving the Winterhawks an 8-1 lead. With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Jason Trott scored to make the game 9-1.
The Hawks won the defensive game, as Ken Hamilton stopped 19 of Seattle’s 20 shots. In comparison, Pickard allowed five goals on the 42 shots, while Salmon allowed four goals on 16 shots.Portland scored on two of its five power plays.
Ross tallied his 28th goal this year in the third period and Niederreiter also netted his 33rd goal of the season in the third period.