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Thunderbirds come out flat, fall to Silvertips | WHL
For the Reporter
The Everett Silvertips beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1 at the ShoWare Center on Sunday night.
Seattle is 39-20-2-4 and fourth in the Western Conference playoff standings, six points ahead of the first-place Spokane Chiefs. Everett is 33-23-7-2 and five points back of Spokane with a game in hand.
Taran Kozun took the loss after stopping 27 of 29 shots. Kozun's record is now 18-24-2-2. Austin Lotz stopped 24 of 25 shots, getting his 25th win of the year.
After a Seattle penalty came at 14:09, the situation worsened quickly when the T-Birds tossed the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty, giving Everett 1:57 of 5-on-3 time. The Silvertips scored 50 seconds into that advantage to make it 1-0. Mirco Mueller took the initial shot that rebounded off Kozun's pads onto Ivan Nikolishin's stick. Nikolishin shot it into the net before Kozun could react, giving the Russian a power-play goal.
The best chance for Seattle came with three minutes remaining. Mathew Barzal and Branden Troock worked the puck back and forth on the rush, ending with Troock getting a shot from deep in the slot that was fought off by Lotz. It marked the beginning of some pressure for the T-Birds as the period wound to a close.
Shots were 16-6 and faceoffs were 10-7 in the first period, both favoring Everett.
"We were flat (early on) and we didn't have everybody going," said T-Birds coach Steve Konowalchuk.
The defense reigned in the second period, with nary a shot on goal in the first four minutes. Seattle came alive from there, with three shots in the next two minutes.
Jaimen Yakubowski tied the game at 5:43. The winger hacked at the puck in the crease a few times, including an attempted between-the-legs shot, all of which were turned aside. Yakubowski kept at it and got the puck back, this time scoring on the backhand. Russell Maxwell had the only assist on the goal.
Pressure paid dividends for Everett in the third period, taking the lead at 18:35. Matt Fonteyne beat Kozun on the break, making it 2-1.
Seattle lead 12-7 in shots in the second and faceoffs were tied at eight wins apiece.
The home team got an early power play in the third to give them a chance to get back in the game. One early clearance hurt the attack, but the T-Birds set up quickly after that and had some extended control of the puck only broken up by a faceoff following a shot going over the glass. Everett managed two more clearances in the dying embers of the advantage to keep their lead.
Everett's defensive effort extinguished any scoring opportunities for either team. There were four shots in the first nine minutes, all by Seattle.
Yakubowski had a shot to tie the game just at the nine-minute mark, only to have his partial breakaway erased by a hard-charging Silvertip defenseman. There was almost no offense to speak of the rest of the way, as Everett's neutral zone trap and conservative attack killed any chances for either team.
The T-Birds did take a penalty with 2:37 left in the game, putting themselves in a hole as they attempted to erase the one-goal deficit. Seattle's defense held throughout the penalty kill, but they were unable to pull their goalie until there was just under a minute and a half remaining, making the game 5-on-5.
Carson Stadnyk added an empty-net goal with one second left on the power play, making the game 3-1 and effectively ending it. Dawson Leedahl had the only assist.
Shots and faceoffs were both tied in the third, with shots at seven each and faceoffs at eight wins each.
Up next: Winterhawks
Coming up next for Seattle is a trip to Portland to take on the Winterhawks at 7 p.m. Friday. Seattle hosts Everett ay 7:05 p.m. Saturday and Vancouver at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
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.
First period - 1, Everett, Nikolishin 16 (Mueller, Bajkov), 15:03 (pp). Penalties - Henry, Seattle (tripping), 6:32. Kolesar, Seattle (boarding), 14:09. Kolesar, Seattle (major-fighting), 14:09. Pufahl, Everett (major-fighting), 14:09. Hickman, Seattle (delay of game), 14:12.
Second period - 2, Seattle, Yakubowski 10 (Maxwell), 5:43. 3, Everett, Fonteyne 3 (Mueller, Lotz), 18:35. Penalties - Hickman, Seattle (major-fighting), :10. Betker, Everett (major-fighting), :10. Betker, Everett (roughing), 5:56. MacDonald, Everett (high-sticking), 8:49.
Third period - 4, Everett, Stadnyk 19 (Leedahl), 19:21 (en, pp). Penalties - Jones, Everett (elbowing), 2:16. Gropp, Seattle (tripping), 17:23. Pufahl, Everett (cross-checking), 19:41.
Shots on goal - Seattle 6-12-7 25, Everett 16-7-7 30. Goalies - Seattle, Kozun 29 shots-27 saves (18-24-2-2); Everett, Lotz 25-24 (25-18-3-2). Power plays - Seattle 0-4; Everett 2-4. A - 3,588. Referees - Chris Crich, Brett Iverson. Linesmen - Justin Hull, Bevan Mills.