(ISN) – KENT –  The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime Friday night. The win pushed Seattle’s record to 30-21-3-4 and helped them extend their third-place lead over the Spokane Chiefs in the U.S. Division to nine points. Lethbridge is now 18-33-4-3. The T-Birds will play again tomorrow night at 6:05 pm against the Everett Silvertips following the annual Hockey Challenge to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington and Alaska.

Jerret Smith won the game one minute into overtime while in the midst of a 4-on-3 power play. Smith was alone in front of the net after receiving a pass from a scrum on the sideboards. Smith slowly moved in and shot high over Lethbridge goalie Stuart Skinner’s shoulder to end the game.

Taran Kozun earned the win after stopping 20 of 23 shots. Kozun’s record improves to 27-15-3-3 this year. Skinner started in goal for Lethbridge and took the loss despites topping 34 of 38. Skinner is now 12-15-1-3.

Seattle took the first penalty of the game at 11:14. Johnny Wesley scored on a rebound chance seconds into that power play to make it 1-0. Jamal Watson’s initial shot bounced off of Kozun’s outstretched left leg straight to Wesley’s stick. Wesley’s shot came too quickly for Kozun to have any chance at getting back into position. Mike Winther had the goal’s secondary assist.

Shea Theodore intercepted a pass out of the zone for one of Seattle’s better chances of the period. Theodore was able to skate deep into the slot where he fired off a backhand shot that was deflected over the net by Skinner. The T-Birds stayed on the attack after that, getting off two more shots before Skinner was able to cover up and force a faceoff.

Nick Holowko cleaned up a Smith shot to tie the game back up after over two minutes straight in the offensive zone by the T-Birds. Holowko was on the doorstep of the crease as Smith cut across and shot. Skinner got a piece of Smith’s shot but was unable to cover it, giving Holowko the chance he needed for his fourth goal of the season. Smith and Mathew Barzal had the assists on the goal coming at 16:22.

Shots were 15-11 Seattle in the first period. Faceoffs were 16-13 Seattle.

Kord Pankewicz gave the lead back to Lethbridge early in the second period. Pankewicz took the puck at the top of the zone and deked past the entire Seattle defense to find himself alone with Kozun. Kozun was forced to commit early, giving Pankewicz the chance to cut to the side of the net and flip the puck in at 2:05. Watson and Winther once again had the assists, giving them each two for the game.

Theodore scored on the power play at 6:38 to tie the game once again. Skinner saved a goal by poke-checking the puck away after Smith fed a centering pass to the front of the net but the T-Birds were able to retain possession. Corey Millette and Barzal worked the puck back to the top of the zone to Theodore, who fired from near the blue line. The puck bounced off the crossbar and hit off Skinner’s back to redirect into the net.

Another Seattle man advantage came with another dangerous chance. Barzal got the puck alone to the right of the crease. Unable to get the puck to his forehand, Barzal flipped a backhand pass that hit Millette in the chest but couldn’t find enough momentum to reach the goal. Ethan Bear sent the puck off the post not much later as a furious T-Birds power play came to a close.

Donovan Neuls got behind the defense and barely beat Skinner on a shot 10 minutes into the period. Skinner got a piece of the puck but had to scramble as it inched ever closer to crossing the goal line. A combination of Skinner and the Lethbridge defense was able to get the puck away from danger and slow the Seattle attack, which managed 11 shots to Lethbridge’s three by the media timeout.

Skinner saved another goal with five minutes left in the period, this time against Roberts Lipsbergs. Millette won the puck behind the net as Skinner rushed back around to the crease. Millette found Lipsbergs in the slot but Skinner was able to make a diving glove save on the Latvian’s shot.

Seattle led in shots in the second period 13-4. Faceoffs were tied with each team winning six.

Watson scored while the Hurricanes were shorthanded, beating the T-Birds defense back for a breakaway chance. Kozun skated out of the crease and dived to poke the puck away from Watson. The puck bounced straight up and unfortunately came down at the goal line, where it trickled across.

Millette scored at 4:30, just 24 seconds after the Hurricanes’ goal, to make it 3-3. Barzal brought the puck up the boards and set up behind the net. Barzal’s pass to the front landed perfectly on Millette’s stick. Millette took his time, forcing Skinner to go prone before flipping it in for the power-play goal. Theodore had the secondary assist on Millette’s 16th goal of the season.

Seattle avoided disaster during a Lethbridge power play late in the third. Evan Wardley tried to clear the puck from behind the net, only to have it bounce off of a T-Bird skating across the crease. Kozun reacted in time to cover it up. A dust up followed, with the end result being a five-minute power play for the T-Birds.

Shots in the third period were 9-8 Seattle. Faceoffs were 12-7 Lethbridge.

The T-Birds play Saturday against the Everett Silvertips at the ShoWare Center at 6:05 pm. That game will be followed by the T-Birds’ Celebrity Game. After that, Seattle will host the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday at 7:05 pm.


First period – 1, Lethbridge, Wesley 4 (Watson, Winther), 11:40 (pp). 2, Seattle, Holowko 4 (Smith, Barzal), 16:22. Penalties – Theodore, Seattle (hooking), 11:14. Walters, Lethbridge (holding), 17:32.

Second period – 3, Lethbridge, Pankewicz 7 (Watson, Winther), 2:05. 4, Seattle, Theodore 9 (Barzal, Millette), 6:38 (pp). Penalties – Allan, Lethbridge (roughing), 5:43. Watson, Lethbridge (goaltender interference), 8:03. Eansor, Seattle (hooking), 12:30.

Third period – 5, Lethbridge, Watson 22 (Pankewicz), 4:06 (sh). 6, Seattle, Millette 16 (Barzal, Theodore), 4:30 (pp). Penalties – Reagan, Lethbridge (tripping), 3:57. Bear, Seattle (slashing), 15:54. Winther, Lethbridge (major-spearing, game misconduct), 16:54. Jensen, Lethbridge (double minor-roughing), 16:54. Wardley, Seattle (double minor-roughing), 16:54.

Overtime – 7, Seattle, Smith 8 (Millette, Barzal), :58 (pp). Penalties – No penalties.

Shots on goal – Seattle 15-13-9-1 38, Lethbridge 11-4-8-0 23. Goalies – Seattle, Kozun 23 shots-20 saves (27-15-3-3); Lethbridge, Skinner 38-34 (12-15-1-3). Power plays – Seattle 3-5; Lethbridge 1-3 A – 3,540. Referees – Sean Raphael, Mike Campbell. Linesmen – Michael Bean, Ron Dietterle.