T-Birds Strike Gold against Silvertips

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(ISN) – KENT,  – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Everett Silvertips Friday night, winning in a seven-round shootout. The win gave Seattle 34 this season and helped them keep their five-point lead on Spokane for third in the U.S. Division after the Chiefs won earlier that night. The Silvertips are now 40-20-3-5 this season.

Roberts Lipsbergs and Jerret Smith scored in the shootout for the T-Birds to take home the win. Lipsbergs skated slowly toward the center of the crease before ripping a wrist shot that hit both posts and bounced into the net. Smith deked to the left of Everett goalie Carter Hart before pulling the puck back to his right and pushing it past Hart’s foot to win the game.

Mathew Barzal helped make overtime dangerous by starting an attack that stayed in the zone for two minutes straight. The T-Birds managed three shots that all went wide of the net during that time. Everett recorded the only shot on goal in overtime while each team won a faceoff.

Taran Kozun stopped 21 of 23 shots and six of seven shooters in the shootout to earn his 31st victory this year. In goal for Everett was Hart, who made 22 saves on 24 shots. Hart is now 16-5-2-2 this season.

Kozun made two early saves to help spark the T-Birds. Jake Mykitiuk ended up with a clear path to the net when Seattle’s defense attacked the other charging Everett forward. Kozun tracked the puck well and got his pads together to knock the shot away behind the net. Mykitiuk gathered the puck from there and found another Silvertip in the slot, whose shot was pushed aside by Kozun.

Lipsbergs scored off a Barzal fed on Seattle’s first power play to make it 1-0. Barzal skated as deep into the faceoff circle as the defense would allow, then found Lipsbergs on the opposite side of the zone. Lipsbergs’ one-timer came too fast for the defense to try and block it and left Hart out of position. The goal was Lipsbergs’ 13th of the season.

Everett came right back and tied the game a minute later. Noah Juulsen’s shot from the sideboards somehow bounced through a forest of bodies in the crease. An odd bounce off a skate helped push the puck along to the far side of the net and past Kozun’s outstretched leg.

Shots were 9-7 Seattle after the first period. Everett led in faceoffs 10-9.

After a dangerous early power play expired, Lane Pederson came ever so close to scoring. A centering pass missed the two bodies in front of the crease and made it to Pederson’s stick on the other side. Unfortunately, the puck rolled off Pederson’s stick as he tried to shoot and ended up bounding weakly into Hart’s pads.

Seattle’s pressure continued unabated for the majority of the period. Cory Millette tipped a Shea Theodore point shot during another power play that couldn’t quite make it over Hart’s pads, as the goalie had cut off the angle. Another Millette tip followed seconds later, this one going just wide past Hart’s glove hand and the post.

Shots were once again 9-7 in Seattle’s favor. The T-Birds won 10 of 13 faceoffs in a scoreless second period as well.

Lipsbergs scored his second goal of the night at 9:57 to make it 2-1 Seattle. Evan Wardley kept the puck in after an attempted clearance by Everett. Wardley was able to slide across the blue line to stop the puck, stand up, and fire away before any Silvertips could pressure him. His shot was tipped in the slot by Lipsbergs past Hart for the goal.

Nolan Volcan came away with the puck from a scrum along the sideboards and created another chance for Seattle as the home team refused to let up. Volcan found Scott Eansor with a pass just out of the reach of a diving Silvertip but Eansor couldn’t hit the net with his shot. Eansor’s pass to Nick Holowko on a similar rush a minute later was tipped just enough to put it out of the winger’s reach as well.

Carson Stadnyk scored with two minutes left in the third period to tie the game back up. Stadnyk took a pass from Kohl Bauml and scored with a deflection off Kozun’s arm that made it just inside the post. Bauml and Cole MacDonald assisted on the goal.

Shots were 8-6 Everett and faceoffs were 15-7 Seattle in the third period.

The T-Birds face off against the Silvertips again on Saturday in Everett at 7:05 pm. The next home game for Seattle is on Tuesday against the Tri-City Americans at 7:05 pm.

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