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Thunderbirds come up short in overtime loss to Silvertips

Austin Strand and Donovan Neuls team up to stop Everett's Patrick Bajkov Friday night (Brian Liesse/T-Birds)

KENT – For the first time in nearly two years, the Seattle Thunderbirds lost a game to Everett at home.

The Thunderbirds fought back to erase a two-goal deficit in the third period Friday night but would eventually fall to the Silvertips 4-3 in overtime. Bryce Kindopp would pot the game-winner when he rushed around the Seattle defense to slide his 19th of the season through Liam Hughes at 1:56 of the extra frame.

Everett (37-17-2-2) built an early lead and held on to beat a game Thunderbirds squad who got a point in the standings but have now lost four straight. The Silvertips were paced by Garrett Pilon, who scored twice and goalie Carter Hart who made 30 saves and set a new franchise record for career wins with 108.

“We had breakdowns there that led to two goals in the first,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “We regrouped and regained some momentum. Despite the adversity we faced throughout the game, we never quit.”

The adversity O’Dette mentioned stemmed around the officials and specifically around a play near the end of the second period. Everett’s Sean Richards was given a major checking-from-behind penalty, along with a game misconduct, when he hit Jarret Tyszka behind the Thunderbirds net.

That sparked a melee that saw all 10 skaters engaged and numerous penalties handed out. Seattle ended with Tyszka, Noah Philp, Jake Lee, and Dillon Hamaliuk receiving 10-minute misconduct penalties. Outside of Richards, only Everett’s Ian Walker received a 10-minute misconduct. Donovan Neuls and Everett’s Jake Christiansen received five-minute fighting majors as well.

Seattle (27-20-7-2) got a five-minute power play out of the scrum but would have to go without some key players for a long stretch of time.

O’Dette was not happy with how the penalties were handed out.

“They had no idea who got the 10’s,” O’Dette said of the officials. “We lost all our guys that were on the ice and somehow (Patrick) Bajkov and (Matt) Fonteyne, two of their best players, managed to stay on the ice, which is ridiculous. We ended up with four 10’s, they ended with one and I don’t understand how that can possibly happen.

“In the heat of the moment they had no idea what was going on, who had the 10’s and who didn’t. We had a key power play and we didn’t have a whole unit and they had their top penalty killers because they somehow got to stay in the game.”

Down 3-1 at the time, the five-minute major power play – which Seattle could have scored multiple goals on – would be a key moment. Seattle struggled to find rhythm on the chance early but did manage to convert in the last minute of it when Austin Strand fired his 18th goal of the year at 1:12 of the third period.

The Thunderbirds got the one goal but felt that a larger opportunity had been missed.

“Its unacceptable and they should have sorted it out before they started the play,” O’Dette added. “They didn’t have any idea what was going on. I don’t know, they lost the handle on that. They’ll try to say that they didn’t but they had no idea what was going on.”

Seattle didn’t let the missed chance sink it however, and Turner Ottenbreit would tie the game at 10:06 when he flung a wrist shot from the high slot that beat goalie Carter Hart. Falling behind to Everett and Hart is usually the end of the game but the Thunderbirds showed some moxie to fight back and get things squared away.

“We’re down 3-1 and we just don’t quit,” Ottenbreit, who lead Seattle with a goal and an assist said. “We’re a reliant bunch and that’s good to see. That’s a big point and we just need to come out tomorrow with that same energy we had in the third.”

An early power-play goal gave the Silvertips the lead to start things off on Saturday night. Everett worked the puck around the zone and Pilon blasted a slap shot that beat Hughes at 2:35 of the first.

The Silvertips would extend the lead at 14:10 when Kevin Davis fired a wrist shot from the high slot for his eighth of the season.

Seattle would break through late in the first when Matthew Wedman banged home a puck from in front of Hart while on the power play at 18:59 of the first.

Pilon would open the second period with another marker when he knocked home a puck after Hughes made an initial save. That reinstated Everett’s two-goal lead and came at 2:57 and seemed to put Everett in command, until Seattle got things going in the third.

Hughes ended the night by stopping 38 shots including some big ones when the team was hanging on.

“Hughes was good,” O’Dette said. “When we get those questionable calls against us, a couple in the third, I’ll have to watch the video but they go down easy, we know that. It just motivates us and dig deeper to get those kills.”

The Thunderbirds won’t have too much time to regroup from the loss as they will head north to Everett for a rematch Saturday night.

Friday’s game was full of emotion and Seattle will look to stay disciplined and try to get two important points in the standings.

“It’s kind of behind us and we have to forget about it,” Ottenbreit said. “We have to come out like in the third period, with that same emotion. It was a great third and we need to build off that tomorrow.”

Notes

• The win for Everett snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Silvertips at the accesso ShoWare Center.

• Hart broke the record set by former Silvertip goalie Leland Irvin, who set the previous mark from 2003 to 2008.

• Everett’s penalty kill came into the night ranked number one in the WHL but the T-Birds were 2-for-2 on Friday.

• The point for Seattle extended its lead to seven over the Kamloops Blazers for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.