The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 4-2 Tuesday night in front of 5,035 raucous fans at the accesso ShoWare Center.
Seattle is 19-22-3-2 and in the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League, 10 points ahead of the Americans. The T-Birds are two points behind the Vancouver Giants for the first wild-card playoff spot with the Giants having a game in hand. The T-Birds and Giants have not played yet this season. The first of their four games this season is Saturday, Feb. 15, at accesso ShoWare Center.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 6:53 of the first period on the power play. Henrik Rybinski passed the puck out of the left corner to Simon Kubicek at the left point. Kubicek found Matthew Rempe to the left of the goal. Rempe used his long reach to put the puck past the left leg of Tri-City goalie Ronin Geraghty for his seventh goal of the season.
Tri-City tied the game 1-1 at 18:20 of the first with a shorthanded goal by Krystof Hrabik.
The T-Birds took a 2-1 lead at 9:15 of the second period. Luke Bateman took a wrist shot from the left point with Rybinski in the left circle. Rybinski tipped the puck past Geraghty for his 11th goal of the season.
Max Patterson put the T-Birds in front 3-1 at 16:33 of the third period. Tyrel Bauer fired a shot at the net from the right point with Patterson in the low slot. Patterson tipped Bauer’s shot over Geraghty’s glove for his seventh of the season. Payton Mount had the second assist.
The Americans cut the T-Birds lead back to one at 17:31 on a goal from Blake Stevenson.
Geraghty was pulled for an extra attacker with just under two minutes left in the game. Patterson got a loose puck in the neutral zone and drove to the net down the left wing with a defenseman on him. Patterson centered the puck back to Lucas Ciona who had the whole net to shoot and hit it for his third goal of the season with 40 seconds left.
Seattle goalie Roddy Ross made 28 saves and is now 15-16-3-2.
The T-Birds next game is Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Portland Winterhawks at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on JOEtv Channel 22/Cable 110. The T-Birds next home game is Saturday, Feb. 8, against the Everett Silvertips.
First period – 1, Seattle, Rempe 7 (Kubicek, Rybinski), 6:53 (pp). 2, Tri-City, Hrabik 13 (Mutala), 18:20 (sh). Penalties – Mutala, Tri (tripping), 5:07. Ferguson, Tri (roughing), 16:29. Rempe, Sea (tripping), 19:52. Rempe, Sea (tripping), 19:52. Zazula, Tri (cross checking), 20:00.
Second period – 3, Seattle, Rybinski 11 (Bateman), 9:15. Penalties – Mutala, Tri (hooking), :44. Kukuca, Sea (embellishment), :44. Bauer, Sea (roughing), 10:35. Uchacz, Sea (major-fighting), 10:35. Greenway, Tri (major-fighting), 10:35.
Third period – 4, Seattle, Patterson 7 (Bauer, Mount), 16:33. 5, Tri-City, Stevenson 7 (Daniel, Mutala), 17:31. 6, Seattle, Ciona 3 (Patterson), 19:20 (en). Penalties – McNelly, Sea (roughing), 20:00.
Shots on goal – Seattle 15-19-9 43, Tri-City 11-11-8 30. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 30 shots-28 saves (15-16-3-2); Tri-City, Geraghty 42-39 (0-2-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-2; Tri-City 0-2. Referees – Matt Hicketts, Mark Pearce. Linesmen – Kris Delaney, Justin Nicol.