Thunderbirds center Henrik Rybinski battles the Americans’ Zane Franklin in bringing the puck up the ice Friday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

Thunderbirds center Henrik Rybinski battles the Americans’ Zane Franklin in bringing the puck up the ice Friday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

Thunderbirds fall to Americans

Kukuca scores in 3-1 loss to Tri-City

  • Saturday, September 28, 2019 8:03am
  • Sports

The Tri-City Americans defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1 in a Western Hockey League game Friday night at the accesso ShoWare Center.

Tri-City went in front 1-0 on Sasha Mutala’s power-play goal at 13:09 of the first period.

The Americans took a 2-0 lead at 10:27 of the second period on Samuel Hu’s power-play goalo.

Andrej Kukuca cut the Americans’ lead to one at 10:16 of the third period with a power-play goal. Kukuca took a pass from Simon Kubicek above the left circle. Kukuca skated to the top of the circle and snapped a puck through traffic past Tri-City goalie Beck Warm. Payton Mount had the second assist.

With 1:47 left in the third Seattle pulled goalie Roddy Ross with a faceoff in the Americans zone. The T-Birds kept the pressure on Warm and the Americans, but Mutala hit the empty net with two seconds left to seal the win.

Ross finished with 21 saves on 23 shots and Warm had 31 save 32 shots.

Up next

The T-Birds’ next game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Kamloops Blazers. They return home Saturday, Oct. 5 to play the Victoria Royals at 6:05 p.m.

Single-game tickets are on sale online and at ShoWare box office.

Fans who purchase the 24-flex ticket package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the 2019-20 season.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period – 1, Tri-City, Mutala 2, 13:09 (pp). Penalties – Rybinski, Sea (slashing), :48. McNelly, Sea (instigator, major-fighting, 10 minute misconduct), 12:09. Roberts, Tri (major-fighting), 12:09.

Second period – 2, Tri-City, Huo (Mutala), 10:27 (pp). Penalties – Roberts, Tri (boarding), :30. Rybinski, Sea (tripping), 8:01. Horon, Sea (delay of game), 9:41.

Third period – 3, Seattle, Kukuca 2 (Kubicek, Mount), 10:16 (pp). 4, Tri-City, Mutala 3, 19:58.

Penalties – Stewart, Tri (double minor-high sticking), 1:03. Kushniryk, Tri (tripping), 3:41. Bouchard, Tri (cross checking), 9:08. Bauer, Sea (checking to the head), 10:28. Stewart, Tri (roughing), 10:28. Mutala, Tri (tripping), 15:37.

Shots on goal – Seattle 7-14-11 32, Tri-City 11-7-6 24. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 23 shots-21 saves (1-1-0-0); Tri-City, Warm 32-31 (2-1-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-6; Tri-City 2-4. Referees – Jeff Ingram, Bobby Jo Love. Linesmen – Brett Mackey, Tim Plamondon.

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