T-Birds Lord Over Royals 5-4

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(ISN) – KENT, – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Victoria Royals Tuesday night, winning 5-4 in their last game before the holiday break. The T-Birds are now 14-15-2-2 on the season, while Victoria falls to 17-17-2-0.

Taran Kozun made the start for Seattle and got his 13th victory of the season, improving to 13-10-2-2. Kozun stopped 22 of 26 shots. In net for Victoria was Coleman Vollrath, who managed to make 40 saves on 45 shots in a losing effort. Vollrath is now 14-11-2-0 on the season.

After an early penalty kill, the T-Birds got their offense going with two extended possessions near the 10-minute mark. Nolan Volcan had a backhand chance after a feed from Scott Eansor, but couldn’t quite get enough on it to beat Vollrath. It was the 10th shot of the game from Seattle, coming during a stretch that saw the home team outshoot Victoria 7-0. Unfortunately, the T-Birds had their pressure undone by a penalty, putting them a man down for the second time in the game with just 1:43 left in the period.

Shots in the scoreless first period favored Seattle 10-5.

Justin Hickman gave Seattle the lead with the game’s first goal at 1:25. Keegan Kolesar screened Vollrath during the T-Birds’ first power play, helping take the goalie’s vision away for a point shot from Ethan Bear. Bear’s shot rebounded to Gropp, who took a whack at the puck before Justin Hickman put it away for the first goal of the game. Gropp and Bear had the assists on the power-play goal.

Lane Pederson took a shot from high in the zone that blew past a diving Victoria defenseman and made it over Vollrath’s outstretched glove to make it 2-0. The goal came at 2:15, just under a minute after Hickman’s goal gave Seattle the lead. Calvin Spencer and Nick Holowko had the assists on the goal.

The T-Birds added a third goal soon thereafter, scoring on the power play once again. Bear took a point shot through plenty of bodies that ended with Kolesar tipping the puck past Vollrath. Hickman had the secondary assist on the goal. It was Seattle’s second power play goal on as many chances in the game.

Victoria scored to make it 3-1 at 6:15. Travis Brown had the goal, his 13th of the season. The assists went to Jack Walker and Greg Chase.

The Royals cut the deficit further as the period wound to its close, scoring at 18:47. After the expiration of a T-Birds power play, Victoria was able to complete a stretch pass and create a two-on-one chance. Seattle’s diving defenseman was unable to block the pass across the zone from Chase to Austin Carroll. Carroll potted the goal, getting his one-timer off as Kozun leapt across the crease. Chase and Tyler Soy had the assists.

Shots on goal were 18-10 Seattle in the second period.

Victoria tied the game at 11:49. Kozun was able to block away the first shot, only to have it rebound to Soy’s stick deep in the slot. Soy’s goal made it 3-3, with Brown and Chase getting the assists. Chase’s assist was his third of the game and his second primary.

Another goal came for the Royals just eight seconds later, giving the visitors the lead for the first time in the game. Brown and Ryan Gagnon assisted on the goal scored by Logan Fisher. The goal was Fisher’s fourth of the season. The assist was Brown’s third point of the game.

Donovan Neuls tied the game with 3:45 left, making it 4-4 with his third goal of the year. Neuls screened Vollrath, who was still able to stop a shot from the boards by Scott Eansor. The rebound went high in the air, where Neuls knocked it down and past Vollrath. Eansor had the only assist.

Seattle scored on a delayed penalty to take the lead. Gropp cut to the net, where he was able to tip in a shot that had bounced through the crease to make it 5-4. Hickman tipped the initial centering pass into Vollrath, where it rebounded out to Gropp. Hickman and Kolesar had the assists on the goal at 17:27.

Shots in the final frame were 16-11 Seattle.

The T-Birds will be off for the Christmas break following tonight’s game. Next up for Seattle will be a home game against the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, December 27 at 7:05 pm.