I think the T-birds just lost their focus Saturday night in Portland. While the Winterhawks played well, I didn't see much different out of them then what I saw in the season opener a week earlier at the ShoWare Center, a game the T-birds won 4-3 in a shootout. It think this was more a case of what Seattle didn't do as much as it was a case of what Portland did do.
Make no mistake though Portland has finishers. Seattle created enough scoring chances when this game was still in doubt but kept shooting wide or misfiring on passes. The Thunderbirds didn't go as hard to the net as they had through the first three games. The Winterhawks were near perfect in finishing their scoring chances. It was a bit of the perfect storm; the T-birds playing their second game in as many nights, probably feeling pretty good about themselves after a 3-0 start, going up against a well rested Portland team that not only had lost two in a row but was probably a bit embarrassed by their previous game, a 6-2 loss at home to Tri-City.
Still, halfway through the contest it was just a two-goal deficit facing the Thunderbirds and they were given two power play chances to try and slice the Portland lead. But the third Winterhawks goal seemed to have the T-birds doubting themselves and things went from bad to worse.
You might think those four goals Seattle scored in the third period were meaningless but it showed players like Theodore won't quit no matter the score. I think Theo is still settling in after his return from NHL camp with Anaheim. His third period performance (2g, 1a) should be a harbinger of things to come from this offensive minded defenseman.
My guess is the T-birds coaches use the video from this game as a teaching tool and a reminder that consistent hard work needs to be the norm and what you did yesterday doesn't mean a whole lot today if you don't put in the work.
I think we'll see a nice bounce back effort Tuesday in Kennewick.