T-Birds Flap Past Americans

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(ISN) – KENT, – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 4-2 Sunday night. Seattle recorded a season high in shots in the process, putting 46 shots on goal. The win moves the T-Birds’ record to 20-16-2-3 and puts them three points out of second place in the U.S. Division. Tri-City falls to 20-20-0-2.

Taran Kozun was in goal for the T-Birds. Kozun’s 31 saves on 33 shots was enough to earn the win, making Kozun 18-11-2-3 on the season. Tri-City started Evan Sarthou in goal, who made 42 saves and took the loss. Sarthou is now 6-10-0-2.

The T-Birds drew the game’s first penalty at 6:07 during an extended offensive possession. Ethan Bear sent a point shot off the mask of Sarthou that bounced back in front. The ensuing scramble ended with one rebound chance for the T-Birds before Tri-City was forced into a holding penalty to prevent another.

During the advantage, Shea Theodore had a touch pass to Roberts Lipsbergs as Lipsbergs cut through the slot but Sarthou was in position to fight off the shot. It was Seattle’s best chance of the three-shot man advantage.

Theodore gave Seattle the lead on their second power play of the game, coming just a minute after their first power play’s expiration. Theodore took a pass from Lane Pederson and skated into the faceoff circle. From there, the defenseman let loose with a cannon of a shot that beat Sarthou glove-side over the shoulder for Theodore’s fifth goal of the season. Bear had the secondary assist on the power-play goal coming at 10:10.

Scott Eansor sent a shot inches past the post during a three-on-one breakaway at 13:30. A big hit in the defensive zone by Pederson started the break, giving Jared Hauf possession of the puck on the wing. Hauf’s pass found Eansor behind Tri-City’s only remaining defenseman. Sarthou stayed with Eansor, forcing him backhand and pushing the puck away.

The T-Birds led in shots 20-6 after one period of play and led in faceoffs 10-7.

Alexander True made it a two-goal lead for Seattle at 3:51 of the second period. Theodore took the initial shot during another Seattle power play. True was screening the goalie and managed to redirect the puck past Sarthou. Theodore and Eansor had the assists on the goal. Theodore’s assist moved him into a tie for second place in T-Birds history for points by a defenseman.

True nearly had a second goal a minute later, also coming on a point shot. Jerret Smith’s shot went wide of the goal and bounced out to the edge of the crease, where True was waiting. True’s shot went off of Sarthou’s leg and the Tri-City defense was able to erase True’s presence before he could get another whack at the puck.

Corey Millette made it 3-0 at 7:51, scoring his first goal as a T-Bird in his first game as one. Millette rushed to the net as Lipsbergs brought the puck up the wing. Lipsbergs’ centering pass hit Millette’s leg and bounced past Sarthou for the goal. The assist by Lipsbergs was also his first point of the season, coming in his second game.

Seattle’s fourth goal came from Nolan Volcan at 13:29 just after Volcan came onto the ice from a line change. Kaden Elder had the puck along the sideboards after a pass from Millette. Elder managed to get a pass across the ice to the top of the opposite faceoff circle where Volcan was waiting for a one-timer. Volcan’s goal was his fifth this season, with Elder and Millette getting the assists.

Seattle led in shots 18-11 in the second period. Faceoffs were 13-12 in Seattle’s favor.

The Americans scored their first goal of the game at 9:50 directly off the faceoff. Lucas Nickles picked the puck out of a scrum after Justin Gutierrez won the draw. Nickles’ quick shot beat Kozun, making it 4-1.

True and Keegan Kolesar combined for a two-on-one break that came close to netting a goal. True picked up the puck at center ice after a collision between Ryan Gropp and a Tri-City defenseman. True passed to Kolesar, who stickhandled before passing back to True on the doorstep. The pass was just a little in front of True, however, who couldn’t get enough on it to knock it in.

Tri-City scored again with 1:38 left in the game, making it 4-2. After a long series of chances, Richard Nejezchleb was able to pick up the puck after it bounced through the crease past a prone Kozun and put it home. Beau McCue and Gutierrez had the assists.

The Americans led in shots in the third period, 16-8, and in faceoffs, 10-6.

Seattle is back in action at home on Tuesday, playing host to the Spokane Chiefs at 7:05 pm. After that, the T-Birds travel to Kelowna to take on the Rockets on Friday at 7:05 pm.

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