Mathew Barzal had four assists and Ryan Gropp had a goal and three assists Wednesday night at Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-4 win over the Victoria Royals.
The T-Birds moved to one point behind the first-place Everett Silvertips in the US Division standings with the win. The Silvertips were idle Wednesday and have one game in hand on the T-Birds. The T-Birds are six points ahead of the third-place Tri-City Americans with three games in hand.
The T-Birds have won 15 of their last 17 games. The T-Birds return to ShoWare Center for two games this weekend. The T-Birds play the Americans at 7:35pm on Friday and the Portland Winterhawks at 7:05pm on Saturday.
The T-Birds swept the four-game season series against the Royals.
Seattle (33-15-3-2) took a 1-0 lead 3:55 into the first period on a power-play goal Keegan Kolesar. Barzal held the puck behind the Royals net looking to make a pass. Barzal found Kolesar just above the goal line to the right of Victoria goalie Griffen Outhouse. Kolesar beat Outhouse high from a sharp angle for his 13th goal of the season. Alexander True had the second assist.
The T-Birds extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:47 of the first. Barzal backhanded the puck from behind the net to Gropp below the right circle. Gropp skated into the right circle and found Austin Strand at the top of the left circle with a pass. Strand put a wrist shot on goal with Kolesar screening Outhouse. Strand’s shot beat Outhouse high as the goalie did not move as he didn’t see the shot.
Victoria (30-21-4-0) cut the T-Birds lead to one at 15:58 of the first on a goal by Ralph Jarrat. Dante Hannoun and Matthew Phillips had the assists.
The T-Birds struck on the power play for a second time in the first period at 18:56 to make it a 3-1 lead. Turner Ottenbreit fed the puck to Gropp at the left face-off dot. Gropp beat Outhouse over the blocker with wrist shot. Barzal had the second assist.
Seattle outshot Victoria 11-6 in the first period.
Kolesar scored his second goal of the game at 8:10 of the second period to make it a 4-1 T-Birds lead. Reece Harsch moved the puck up ice from the right wing to Gropp on the left wing. Gropp gained the offensive zone and then centered the puck to Kolesar coming down the slot. Kolesar redirected the Gropp pass low past Outhouse.
The Royals scored two power-play goals midway through the second period to cut the T-Birds lead to one goal. Tyler Soy scored at 10:57 off assists from Chaz Reddekopp and Hannoun. Then Phillips scored at 13:03 of the period off assists from Soy and Hannoun.
The T-Birds outshot the Royals 10-9 in the second period and led 21-15 in shots after two period.
The Royals tied the game 4-4 at 2:04 of the third period on a goal from Jared Dmytriw. Carter Folk and Ethan Price had the assists.
The T-Birds grabbed a 5-4 lead at 7:15 of the third on the power play. Gropp crossed the puck form the left circle to Barzal in the right circle. Barzal sent the puck to Ethan Bear at center ice inside the blue line. Bear took a slap shot with True in front of Outhouse. Bear’s shot beat Outhouse on the glove side.
Ottenbreit was called for holding with 1:11 left in the game. The Royals used their timeout and pulled Outhouse for a six-on-four power play. Donovan Neuls won several faceoffs on the penalty kill gaining the T-Birds possession of the puck and they were able to clear the defensive zone. Seattle goalie Rylan Toth also made two good gloves saves to deny the Royals on their power play.
The Royals outshot the T-Birds 8-7 in the third period. The T-Birds finished with a 28-23 advantage in shot.
Toth made 19 saves on 23 shots and his record is now 27-15-1-1.
Outhouse made 24 save on 28 shots and his record is now 29-18-3-0.
First period – 1, Seattle, Kolesar 13 (Barzal, True), 3:55 (pp). 2, Seattle, Strand 6 (Gropp, Barzal), 6:47. 3, Victoria, Jarrat 2 (Hannoun, Phillips), 15:58. 4, Seattle, Gropp 19 (Ottenbreit, Barzal), 18:56 (pp). Penalties – Morrison, Vic (hooking), 2:39. Reddekopp, Vic (cross checking), 17:32.
Second period – 5, Seattle, Kolesar 14 (Gropp, Harsch), 8:10. 6, Victoria, Soy 25 (Reddekopp, Hannoun), 10:57 (pp). 7, Victoria, Phillips 38 (Soy, Hannoun), 13:03 (pp). Penalties – Ibragimov, Vic (tripping), 5:07. Ibragimov, Vic (high-sticking), 8:25. Bear, Sea (holding), 8:50. Bishop, Sea (slashing), 9:51. Gropp, Sea (slashing), 12:51. Kolesar, Sea (roughing), 20:00.
Third period – 8, Victoria, Dmytriw 10 (Folk, Price), 2:04. 9, Seattle, Bear 19 (Barzal, Gropp), 7:15. Penalties – Gerth, Vic (slashing), 6:14. Lee, Sea (high sticking), 10:25. Ottenbreit, Sea (holding), 18:49.
Shots on goal – Seattle 11-10-7 28, Victoria 6-9-8 23. Goalies – Seattle, Toth 23 shots-19 saves (27-15-1-1); Victoria, Outhouse 28-23 (29-18-3-0). Power plays – Seattle 3-5; Victoria 2-6. A – 2,965. Referees – Kyle Kowalski, Ward Pateman. Linesmen – Riley Friesen, Jeff MacAdams.
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