Ryan Gropp and Donovan Neuls each had two goals Saturday night in front of 5,009 at ShoWare Center to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 7-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Gropp scored the first two goals of the game and Neuls scored the last two goals of the game. Mathew Barzal and Matthew Wedman each had three assists in the game.
Goalie Rylan Toth made 25 saves to improve his record to 11-9-1-0.
The T-Birds travel to Kelowna to play the Rockets on Wednesday at 7:05pm. They are in Prince George for back-to-back games against the Cougars on Friday and Saturday.
Seattle (15-9-2-1) took a 1-0 lead 1:27 into the first period on a goal from Gropp. Barzal sent the puck up the right wall in the Seattle zone. Wedman punched the puck into the neutral zone where Gropp chased it down. Gropp came into the Medicine Hat zone on a partial break. Gropp cut through the low crease right to left forcing Tigers goalie Duncan McGovern down. Gropp then lifted the puck over the goalie for his seventh goal of the season.
Gropp struck again at 10:46 of the second to give the T-Birds a 2-0 lead. Luke Ormsby pushed the puck up the right wall in the neutral zone to Barzal. Barzal came into the Tigers zone on a two-on-one with Gropp. In the right circle Barzal crossed the puck to Gropp and he wired a wrist shot over a diving McGovern.
The T-Birds made it a 3-0 lead at 17:57 of the first on Ethan Bear’s 10th goal of the game. Nolan Volcan took a pass from Barzal just inside the blue line of the Tigers zone. Volcan dropped the puck for Bear who skated into the right circle and beat McGovern with a wrist shot over the blocker. Bear has a five-game goal streak.
Seattle outshot Medicine Hat 12-5 in the first period.
The T-Birds scored three goals in the second period to secure a commanding 6-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Scott Eansor threw the puck on net from the bottom of the left circle. The puck got through McGovern but was in the crease. McGovern’s left leg swept the puck back towards the goal line as Eansor crashed the net. The red goal light came on and the T-Birds celebrated. The referees conferenced to the right of the goal and then went to video review. After several minutes of video review the referees signaled it was a good goal for Eansor, his team leading 14th of the season. Reece Harsch had the only assist on the goal.
Volcan scored at 12:14 of the second to make it a 5-0 T-Birds lead. Bear passed the puck up the left-wing boards to Eansor who carried it into the offensive zone. Eansor had Volcan to his right and passed him the puck. Volcan controlled the puck with his skate and then put a hard wrist shot over McGovern’s glove for his 11th goal of the season.
Seattle struck for a sixth goal with 36 seconds left in the second. Wedman passed the puck to Donovan Neuls as he entered the Tigers zone. Neuls took a wrist shot that McGovern stopped but the rebound came into the slot. Neuls chased after his shot and backhanded the puck over McGovern’s left shoulder.
The T-Birds outshot the Tigers 15-10 in the second period and led 27-15 in total shots after 40 minutes.
Nick Schneider replaced McGovern in goal for the Tigers in the third period. McGovern had 21 saves on 27 shots and his record is now 2-4-0-0.
Neuls scored the T-Birds seventh and final goal at 8:54 of the third period. Wedman came around the Medicine Hat net from left to right and found Neuls in the low slot. Neuls put the puck past a lunging Schneider for his second goal of the game.
Medicine Hat (21-7-1-0) got on the board when Max Gerlach scored at 14:25 of the third. Mark Rassell and James Hamblin had the assists.
The T-Birds outshot the Tigers 35-26 in the game.
Schneider finished his period of action with seven saves on eight shots.