In the news:
Thunderbirds win season opener in a shootout
Special to The Seattle Times
KENT — Mathew Barzal showed why he was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 bantam draft with a memorable debut Saturday night.
Barzal, 16, had an assist in regulation and then added a goal in the shootout to help lift the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-3 win over the defending Western Hockey League champion Portland Winterhawks.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Barzal said of his debut in front of 5,098 fans in Kent. “That shootout at the end only made it that much better.”
Barzal, who was selected to be the first off the bench in the shootout, nearly lost the puck at center ice before he collected it just in time to score off Portland goaltender Brandon Burke.
“I pushed it forward and had no idea it was going to run like that,” Barzal said. “If I would have pushed it any harder it would have been a dump in. I had a move coming in, but that caused me to get in a little too tight with my mixup and I had to change it.”
Barzal admitted he was surprised when he heard his name called to open the shootout.
“A little bit, because we have a lot of talent on this team,” Barzal said. “Coming in, I knew I was ready and I’d been practicing it a little bit.”
Things get even better for Barzal because the Thunderbirds next play in Vancouver, very near his hometown of Coquitlam, B.C.
“I have that one marked on my calendar,” Barzal said.
After Barzal scored in the shootout, Portland (1-1) tied it with a goal by Nic Petan. It stayed 1-1 until Brandon Troock scored to put Seattle up 2-1 and goaltender Justin Myles stopped Oliver Bjorkstrand to preserve the win. Myles made 39 saves as Portland outshot Seattle 42-40 in regulation and overtime.
Roberts Lipsbergs scored twice, once in each of the first two periods, to give Seattle the early lead.
Ethan Price cut the lead in half with his first goal of the season for Portland at 13:37 of the second period and the Winterhawks tied it just after a power play ended in the first minute of the third period.
Jerret Smith, who had one goal in 71 games last season, put the Thunderbirds back in front with a power-play goal at 5:52 of the third period before Chase De Leo evened it at 3.
The Thunderbirds were without defenseman Shea Theodore, a first-round draft pick of Anaheim last season. Theodore was expected to play for Anaheim on Sunday, but is expected to join Seattle after that.
Everett 8, Prince George 3
Joshua Winquist scored three goals and Manraj Hayer scored two as the host Silvertips rolled to an easy victory in its season opener.
Winquist completed his hat trick midway through the second period, giving Everett a 6-2 lead after it had trailed 2-1 in the first period.