The Thunderbirds’ Ryan Gropp tries to handle the puck in front of the Americans’ goal during WHL play Sunday night at the ShoWare Center. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/T-Birds

The Thunderbirds’ Ryan Gropp tries to handle the puck in front of the Americans’ goal during WHL play Sunday night at the ShoWare Center. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/T-Birds

T-Birds skate past Americans for 5-game winning streak | WHL

Line of Gropp, Barzal, Kolesar combines for 10 points in 5-1 victory

  • Monday, January 30, 2017 12:33pm
  • Sports

The line of Ryan Gropp, Mathew Barzal and Keegan Kolesar combined for 10 points to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Tri-City Americans at the ShoWare Center on Sunday night.

Gropp had two goals and two assists, Kolesar had had a goal and three assists and Barzal had a goal and an assist. Gropp and Barzal extended their point streaks to five games while Kolesar now has a four-game point streak.

The T-Birds, who are riding a five-game winning streak, have captured 11 of their last 12 games. The T-Birds play the Kamloops Blazers on a Directors Mortgage 2-for-Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at the ShoWare Center.

The T-Birds are in third place in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Americans with five games in hand. Seattle is seven points behind the first-place Everett Silvertips.

Seattle (29-15-3-1) jumped out a 1-0 lead 29 second into the game. Aaron Hyman took a shot from the high slot with Kolesar and Gropp in front of Tri-City goalie Beck Warm. Kolesar got a stick on the rebound before Gropp punched the puck past Warm.

The T-Birds struck at 5:12 of the first to make it a 2-0 lead. Austin Strand passed the puck to Kolesar on the left boards. Kolesar skated the puck around the top of the left circle and made a power move towards the slot. Kolesar took a wrist shot that Warm stopped but the puck lay in the crease behind the goalie. Warm thought he had frozen the puck, but Kolesar kept skating and poked the loose puck into the net for his 10th goal of the season. Gropp had the second assist.

Barzal put the T-Birds in front 3-0 at 4:17 of the second period. Strand controlled the puck along the right boards at the point. Strand passed the puck to Barzal to who took a wrist shot from just inside the blue line with traffic in front of Warm. Barzal’s shot beat Warm on the stick side for his seventh goal of the season. Kolesar had the second assist on the goal.

Alexander True extended the T-Birds lead to 4-0 at 5:39 of the first with a power-play goal. Gropp passed the puck from the left point to Barzal in the right circle. Barzal found True between the hash marks. True beat Warm with a wrist shot on the stick side.

Tri-City (30-20-3-0) got on the board at 10:16 of the second on a power-play goal from Tyler Sandhu.

Tri-City pulled Warm with 5:37 left in the game. Seattle goalie Rylan Toth gathered a loose puck behind his net and took a long range shot to try and score. Toth’s shot missed wide left.

Gropp sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 16:52 of the third period. Kolesar blocked a point shot and got the loose puck to Gropp. Gropp skated out of the defensive zone, across the red line and then hit the empty net.

Seattle outshot Tri-City 11-5 in the third period and 39-20 in the game.

Toth made 19 saves to improve his record to 24-15-1-0.

Warm made 34 saves on 38 shots and his record is now 3-5-0-0.


Fans may purchase single-game tickets online or at the ShoWare Center box office. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.


First period – 1, Seattle, Gropp 12 (Kolesar, Hyman), :29. 2, Seattle, Kolesar 10 (Strand, Gropp), 5:12. Penalties – Strand, Sea (interference), 11:24.

Second period – 3, Seattle, Barzal 7 (Strand, Kolesar), 4:17. 4, Seattle, True 16 (Barzal, Gropp), 5:39 (pp). 5, Tri-City, Sandhu 14 (Geekie, Wotherspoon), 10:16 (pp). Penalties – Ottenbreit, Sea (interference), 1:00. Geekie, Tri (high-sticking), 4:57. Adams, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:39. Lukin, Tri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:39. Geekie, Tri (tripping), 6:42. Bench, Sea (too many men-served by Adams), 8:52.

Third period – 6, Seattle, Gropp 13 (Kolesar), 16:52 (en). Penalties – Yorke, Tri (roughing), 1:37. Bishop, Sea (hooking), 9:54.

Shots on goal – Seattle 14-14-11 39, Tri-City 6-9-5 20. Goalies – Seattle, Toth 20 shots-19 saves (24-15-1-0); Tri-City, Warm 38-24 (3-5-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-4; Tri-City 1-3. A – 4,098. Referees – Jeff Ingram, Dexter Rasmussen. Linesmen – Scott Mackey, Devon Sephton.

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