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Hickman hat trick propels T-Birds | WHL

Justin Hickman - Courtesy photo/Thunderbirds
Justin Hickman
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Thunderbirds

Justin Hickman had a hat trick and goalie Taran Kozun stopped 29 shots to help lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-0 shutout of the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Arena.

The T-Birds have now shut out the Chiefs in back-to-back games. They won 1-0 in overtime on Jan. in Spokane. Kozun had the shutout in that game by stopping 28 shots. Kozun has three shutouts with the T-Birds this season and his record improves to 8-1-0-0 with the team and to 13-20-2-1 overall.

The hat trick was the first of Hickman's career and fifth by the team this season. Roberts Lipsbergs, Shea Theodore, Branden Troock and Ryan Gropp have each had a hat trick this season.

The T-Birds are 6-0-0-0 against the Chiefs this season. They meet for a seventh time on Friday at ShoWare Center at 7:35pm. This game will be broadcast by Root Sports.

The T-Birds are in fourth place in the Western Conference, moving six points ahead of the fifth place Chiefs with the win. They are four points behind the second place Portland Winterhawks, although the Winterhawks have two games in hand. They are one point behind the third place Victoria Royals.

Seattle (34-16-2-3) took a 1-0 lead at 15:50 of the first period on Hickman's 16th goal of the season. Hickman intercepted a crossing pass from a Chiefs defenseman in the slot. He was all alone against Chiefs goalie Garret Hughson and beat the goalie on the glove side for the goal.

Spokane (31-17-3-2) outshot Seattle 13-9 in the first period.

Alexander Delnov increased the T-Birds lead to 2-0 2:06 into the second period. Delnov won a faceoff in the right circle back to Evan Wardley at the left point. Wardley took a slap shot that Calvin Spencer tipped. Hughson made the save with the rebound kicking out to Delnov in the left circle. Delnov one timed the rebound off the cross bar and past Hughson for the goal.

The T-Birds scored at 18:38 of the second to make it a 3-0 lead. Ryan Gropp stopped the puck at the left point along the boards. He took a wrist shot with Hickman standing in front of Hughson. Hickman tipped Gropp's shot over Hughson's left shoulder for his second goal of the night.

Both teams had 22 shots on goal after two periods.

Hickman completed the hat trick at 2:39 of the third period. Mathew Barzal won a faceoff in the right circle backwards. Hickman came in from the right wing, collected the puck as he skated into the slot. He took a backhand shot that hit Hughson's glove and went into the net.

Seattle outshot Spokane 33-29 in the game.

Hughson made 29 saves on 33 shots and his record is now 5-6-1-1.

T-Birds single game tickets for the 2013-14 season are available online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period - 1, Seattle, Hickman 16 (Bear, Henry), 15:50. Penalties - McIntosh, Spo (delay of game), 1:22. Wedman, Spo (major-fighting), 9:16. Hickman, Sea (major-fighting), 9:16. Troock, Sea (charging), 12:44.

Second period - 2, Seattle, Delnov 22 (Spencer, Wardley), 2:06. 3, Seattle, Hickman 17 (Gropp), 18:38. Penalties - Gow, Spo (interference), 3:58. Whittingham, Spo (hooking), 9:31. Troock, Sea (hooking), 19:29.

Third period - 4, Seattle, Hickman 19 (Barzal), 2:39. Penalties - Bobyk, Spo (boarding), 5:01. Elliot, Sea (major-fighting), 16:18. McIntosh, Spo (charging, major-fighting), 16:18.

Shots on goal - Seattle 8-14-11 33, Spokane 13-9-7 29. Goalies - Seattle, Kozun 29 shots-29 saves (13-20-2-1); Spokane, Hughson 33-29 (5-6-1-1). Power plays - Seattle 0-5; Spokane 0-2. A - 3,787. Referees - Nick Swaine, Jason Nissen. Linesmen - Jeremi Del Campo, Anthony Guzzo.

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