Silvertips cage T-Birds

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SeattleThunderbirds

March 2, 2014, KENT (ISN) – The Everett Silvertips beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1 at ShoWare Center Sunday night. Seattle is now 39-20-2-4 and in fourth place in the Western Conference playoff standings, six points ahead of the first place Spokane Chiefs.

The win made Everett’s record 33-23-7-2 and put them five points back of Spokane with a game in hand.

In goal for Seattle was Taran Kozun, who took the loss after stopping 27 of 29 shots. Kozun’s record is now 18-24-2-2. Austin Lotz stopped 24 of 25 shots for Everett, getting his 25th win of the year.

The first shift set a physical tone for each team, as multiple players were thrown to the ice after punishing checks. Everett was able to get five shots during this five-minute stretch, while the home team got the puck deep multiple times but couldn’t create anything out of those possessions. Seattle’s first shot came at 5:36 off an offensive zone faceoff, the first offensive zone faceoff of the game for the T-Birds.

Seattle went shorthanded at 6:32, giving Everett the first power play of the game. Sam McKechnie and Russell Maxwell broke up the Silvertips’ attack multiple times throughout the chance, keeping the game scoreless. The visitors stayed on the attack once even strength returned, holding Seattle to three shots in the first half of the period. “They were better than us [in the first period and] we’ve got to get better at starting games” said coach Steve Konowalchuk about his team’s effort early on.

Another T-Birds penalty came at 14:09. The situation worsened quickly when the T-Birds tossed the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty, giving Everett 1:57 of 5-on-3 time. The Silvertips scored 50 seconds into that advantage to make it 1-0. Mirco Mueller took the initial shot that rebounded off Kozun’s pads onto Ivan Nikolishin’s stick. Nikolishin shot it into the net before Kozun could react, giving the Russian a power-play goal.

The best chance for Seattle came with three minutes remaining. Mathew Barzal and Branden Troock worked the puck back and forth on the rush, ending with Troock getting a shot from deep in the slot that was fought off by Lotz. It marked the beginning of some pressure for the T-Birds as the period wound to a close.

Shots were 16-6 and faceoffs were 10-7 in the first period, both favoring Everett. Konowalchuk put the onus of the game on its early minutes, saying that “we were flat [early on] and we didn’t have everybody going.”

The defense reigned in the second period, with nary a shot on goal in the first four minutes. Seattle came alive from there, with three shots in the next two minutes.

Jaimen Yakubowski tied the game at 5:43. The winger hacked at the puck in the crease a few times, including an attempted between-the-legs shot, all of which were turned aside. Yakubowski kept at it and got the puck back, this time scoring on the backhand. Maxwell had the only assist on the goal.

Seattle followed up their goal by drawing a penalty the next shift, getting their first power play. The ice stayed tilted in the home team’s favor, as shots in the second period were 7-0 at the penalty’s expiration, not including numerous chances that went just wide during the power play.

The T-Birds drew a second penalty a minute after their first man advantage ended, putting it back to 5-on-4 hockey. This power play ended scoreless as well, but the T-Birds did record three more shots. Everett had their first official shot on goal during that time, which was a clearance from their own zone that made it on net but was easily blocked away by Kozun.

The Silvertips were able to up their offensive pressure as the period wound down to its close, though Seattle kept their own attack going strong as well. Several more chances were missed just barely, leaving Lotz leaping about the crease on multiple occasions.

Pressure paid dividends for Everett, who took the lead at 18:35. Matt Fonteyne beat Kozun on the break, making it 2-1. Mirco Mueller and Lotz had assists on the goal. “It was a tough goal… our guys kept coming [and] battled in the third but it was a big goal by them” said Konowalchuk about the eventual game winner.

Seattle lead 12-7 in shots in the second and faceoffs were tied at eight wins apiece.

The home team got an early power play in the third to give them a chance to get back in the game. One early clearance hurt the attack, but the T-Birds set up quickly after that and had some extended control of the puck only broken up by a faceoff following a shot going over the glass. Everett managed two more clearances in the dying embers of the advantage to keep their lead.

Everett’s defensive effort extinguished any scoring opportunities for either team. There were four shots in the first nine minutes, all by Seattle.

Yakubowski had a shot to tie the game just at the nine-minute mark, only to have his partial breakaway erased by a hard-charging Silvertip defenseman. There was almost no offense to speak of the rest of the way, as Everett’s neutral zone trap and conservative attack killed any chances for either team.

The T-Birds did take a penalty with 2:37 left in the game, putting themselves in a hole as they attempted to erase the one-goal deficit. Seattle’s defense held throughout the penalty kill, but they were unable to pull their goalie until there was just under a minute and a half remaining, making the game 5-on-5.

Carson Stadnyk added an empty-net goal with one second left on the power play, making the game 3-1 and effectively ending it. Dawson Leedahl had the only assist.

Shots and faceoffs were both tied in the third, with shots at seven each and faceoffs at eight wins each.

Coming up next for Seattle is a trip to Portland to take on the Winterhawks on Friday at 7:00 pm. Seattle then hosts Everett Saturday at 7:05 pm and hosts Vancouver Sunday at 5:05 pm.

T-Birds single game tickets for the 2013-14 season are available online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.

T-Birds season tickets are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period – 1, Everett, Nikolishin 16 (Mueller, Bajkov), 15:03 (pp). Penalties – Henry, Seattle (tripping), 6:32. Kolesar, Seattle (boarding), 14:09. Kolesar, Seattle (major-fighting), 14:09. Pufahl, Everett (major-fighting), 14:09. Hickman, Seattle (delay of game), 14:12.

Second period – 2, Seattle, Yakubowski 10 (Maxwell), 5:43. 3, Everett, Fonteyne 3 (Mueller, Lotz), 18:35. Penalties – Hickman, Seattle (major-fighting), :10. Betker, Everett (major-fighting), :10. Betker, Everett (roughing), 5:56. MacDonald, Everett (high-sticking), 8:49.

Third period – 4, Everett, Stadnyk 19 (Leedahl), 19:21 (en, pp). Penalties – Jones, Everett (elbowing), 2:16. Gropp, Seattle (tripping), 17:23. Pufahl, Everett (cross-checking), 19:41.

Shots on goal – Seattle 6-12-7 25, Everett 16-7-7 30. Goalies – Seattle, Kozun 29 shots-27 saves (18-24-2-2); Everett, Lotz 25-24 (25-18-3-2). Power plays – Seattle 0-4; Everett 2-4. A – 3,588. Referees – Chris Crich, Brett Iverson. Linesmen – Justin Hull, Bevan Mills.

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