EVERETT – Like most sports, hockey is a game of inches and the Thunderbirds were on the wrong side of that inch Friday night in Everett.
Trailing the Silvertips 2-1 midway through the third period, Zack Andrusiak took a shot that beat Everett goalie Carter Hart. It didn’t beat the cross bar however, ringing off the iron and away to safety. A shift later, Everett’s Connor Dewar chipped a pass to himself to create a two-on-one break. He scored to give the Silvertips a 3-1 lead that they would hold onto on their way to victory.
“I don’t think we had a ton of opportunities so when we do get one and hit the post its definitely frustrating,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “You give up the odd man rush right after that. Their guy made a nice play. They’re a good team and they’re going well.”
The loss snaps Seattle’s five-game win streak while Everett wins its eighth in a row.
Hart turned away 20 Seattle shots to record his 18th win on the season while Everett was paced offensively by Matt Fonteyne who scored while adding an assist.
After an even first period that saw the two teams play to a 1-1 tie, Everett (31-16-1-1) took control in the second. The Silvertips would outshoot the Thunderbirds 15-6 and would score to take a 2-1 lead that they never relinquished.
“I think we could have managed the momentum swings in this game better,” O’Dette said. “Obviously this is a building that’s very loud and boisterous. We needed to respond with good shifts at the right times and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
Liam Hughes was back in net for Seattle (25-17-4-2) after missing five games to injury. He was perhaps the lone bright spot for the Thunderbirds, making 30 saves in the loss. He was at his best in the second period and kept the game from getting out of reach for Seattle.
O’Dette felt that the Thunderbirds had perhaps underestimated the speed of Everett’s forwards which led to struggles in the break out as well as Everett players getting behind the defense.
“Our defense, maybe not quite ready for that level of speed and sensing danger,” the coach said. “When they broke we didn’t necessarily respect that and sense danger. Hughes had to make some big saves to keep us in the game.”
The Silvertips would get on the board first when Bryce Kindopp converted a centering pass from Fonteyne at 9:25.
Seattle would get the goal back on an Austin Strand power-play marker just over two later. He fired a wrist shot through traffic for his 16th of the season.
A power play that carried into the start of the second period would give Everett the lead. Fonteyne scored his 29th goal of the year just 44 seconds into the period. It would be the eighth straight game that Seattle has allowed a power-play goal against.
“That’s a big challenge to get the kill to start the period,” O’Dette said. “We didn’t get that one and it would have been big as far as momentum goes for the rest of the period there.”
The second period became more troublesome for Seattle when it lost Sami Moilanen half way through due to injury. He did not return and forced O’Dette to put some of his lines in the blender as well as limit their offensive firepower.
After the game, O’Dette said that the Finnish import was being evaluated and did not know the extent of the injury.
“Obviously a blow to our depth when that happens,” he added.
The Thunderbirds won’t have to wait long to get another crack at Everett as the two teams will meet again Saturday night at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.
Friday was Seattle’s first look at the Silvertips since they added pieces at the trade deadline and now know better the challenge ahead of them.
“It’s been a while since we played these guys and they’ve been rolling,” O’Dette said. “We’ll have to make a couple of adjustments to be a little more efficient, so we can get into their end and do what we’re good at.”
• Seattle’s penalty kill is still looking for a clean sheet. It’s allowed a goal in eight straight, a streak that has resulted in 14 goals against.
• Everett’ Patrick Bajkov picked up an assist Friday which puts him two points away from setting a new franchise scoring mark. Zach Hamil holds the current records with 262 points.
• By only scoring one goal, the Thunderbirds broke their streak of scoring at least five times in five straight games.
• Friday’s game was the first of a three-in-three for both Seattle and Everett. The Thunderbirds will host the Silvertips Saturday before heading to Tri-City for a game on Sunday afternoon.