Vancouver Giants star Ty Ronning spoiled what should have been a good evening for the Thunderbirds on Friday.
Ronning scored twice, including the game-winning score in overtime, to lift his team to an unlikely 2-1 extra time win over Seattle at the Langley Events Centre. The goals were number 48 and 49 on the year for the New York Rangers prospect as he set a new franchise mark for goals in a season by passing former Giant Evander Kane.
Seattle (27-18-6-2) heavily outshot the Giants on the night to the tune of 50-21. They could only muster one Noah Philp goal however as Vancouver goalie David Tendeck stood on his head to make 49 saves and pick up his 20th win of the season.
“I thought we stuck to our game plan and got the puck to the net,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “We battled, never gave up and it was just an unfortunate play in overtime.”
While over shadowed by his counterpart at the other end, Seattle goalie Liam Hughes ended the night by kicking out 19 shots in defeat.
Tied at one in overtime, Ronning stripped the puck from a Seattle defender in the Thunderbirds zone and walked in on Hughes alone for the game-winning score. It erased a dominant puck-possession game turned in by the Thunderbirds as they outshot Vancouver 34-8 over the final two periods.
The Thunderbirds routinely crashed the Vancouver net but too often could not find the puck in the scramble. When they did, the goaltender was there to make a stop.
If not for the play of Tendeck, the Thunderbirds may have won going away.
“It’s frustrating, we had a lot of looks and there were a lot pucks there in the crease,” O’Dette said. “We couldn’t put it in. It’s not for a lack of opportunity, that’s for sure. We had plenty of that. We’ve got to find ways to find those pucks and put them in the back of the net.”
Seattle also got another look at 2017 first-round Bantam pick Payton Mount on Friday. The rookie was playing in his third game of the season and was paired with Philp and Samual Huo.
The trio was perhaps Seattle’s most dangerous line as the young Mount continues to impress.
He created several scoring chances, took six shots on goal, and notched his first WHL point as he led Philp perfectly with a pass on what would be a game-tying goal at 10:27 of the third period. Philp accepted the pass in the high slot and wired his 12th marker of the season.
“I thought for a young guy he played well,” O’Dette said of Mount. “They found a way to get that tying goal and it’s exciting for the future.”
The two teams would play a scoreless first period and Seattle came out strong to start the second. They generated chances and were tipping the ice but Vancouver (29-17-5-3) would find a way to break through first. Going against the grain of play, Ronning would tip in a shot from right in front of Hughes at 6:13 to give Vancouver a lead.
It was one of only four shots the Giants could muster in that period as Seattle again, pushed the pace.
The game would stay 1-0 until Mount and Philp hooked up in the third to tie it and send Seattle to an overtime period for the sixth time in its last eight contests. Ronning would strike with his second just 1:42 into overtime to keep Seattle from earning two points.
With the one point it did earn, Seattle pulled into a tie with Tri-City for fourth place in the U.S. Division.
The Thunderbirds won’t have too much time to wallow on Friday’s game as they will be back in action Saturday night when they host Portland for the first leg in a home-in-home series this weekend.
• Kane had set the previous Giants record for goals in a season during the 2008-2009 campaign when he scored 48 before being drafted fourth overall by the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers in the 2009 draft. He currently plays for the Buffalo Sabres.
• Friday’s game was relatively penalty free as each team was awarded just one power-play chance, both coming in the first period. Neither team was able to convert however.
• Vancouver and Seattle have played three times this year and all three have gone into overtime, with one going to a shootout. The T-Birds are 1-0-2-0 in the three games.
• Matthew Wedman was held off the score sheet for Seattle which snapped his four-game point streak.