KENT – For the second time in the preseason, the Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips needed overtime to decide things Tuesday night. In fact, overtime wasn’t enough, and the two teams slogged through a nine-round shootout to decide a winner.
Finally, Seattle’s Payton Mount converted at one end and goalie Eric Ward stopped Martin Fasko-Rudas at the other to end the long ordeal. Seattle skated off the accesso ShoWare Center ice with a 4-3 preseason win.
“Every game is a battle against those guys whether its regular season, preseason, playoffs, it doesn’t matter,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “I thought we didn’t play our best, especially early. They took it to us and we kind of woke up as the game wore on. I’m not happy that we didn’t play a 60 minute game.”
Seattle got two power-play goals in the first period to build a lead but the Silvertips would fight back and would do the same in the third period to force overtime. Nolan Volcan and Graeme Bryks would open the scoring for the Thunderbirds before Everett’s Brad Richards and Bryce Kindopp evened it up.
Dillon Hamaliuk made his return to the lineup for Seattle and would help set up Seattle’s third goal. In the second period he turned on the jets to get deep into the Everett zone and threw the puck back to a charging Samuel Huo for the goal.
“I saw the D was pinching up, (Hou) pinched to me and he just kept on going,” Hamaliuk said of the play. “I saw the D laying down and saw a little opening, so I just tucked it in. I was out for probably two months and I felt pretty good out there. I’d say I’m pretty close to 100-percent, but it felt pretty good out there.”
The upcoming year is a big one for Hamaliuk as the forward is entering his NHL Draft season.
He started Tuesday on the third line but most likely will move up the lineup as the preseason and regular season progresses.
“We kind of eased him in there tonight,” O’Dette said of Hamaliuk. “He didn’t get a ton of ice time but when he was in there he was effective. You could see his speed and the way he’s strong on the puck and can beat defensemen and create that separation…with his power forward style he’s a nice addition to the lineup.”
With a 3-2 lead in the final frame, Kindopp would score his second of the night for the Silvertips to tie the game at the 11:46 mark. That set up the overtime and eventually the lengthy shootout.
• Eric Ward went the distance in net for Seattle and made 27 saves and stopped seven of the nine shootout attempts he saw. “He played great,” O’Dette said of Ward. “He held his own in there and was really good in the shootout. He’s battling, he’s battling to make the team and there’s competition all up and down our line up and in the net is no different. He’s scratching and clawing to make the team.”
• Newcomer Keegan Craik made his Seattle debut Tuesday as well. Craik was acquired Monday in a trade with the Prince George Cougars in exchange for 20-year-old Mike MacLean. The move gets Seattle down to the over-age limit of three. “He did well for his first game,” O’Dette said. “Got kind of thrown in the fire, just arriving today. I think as the game wore on he got more comfortable and you can see he played a gritty style, we like those kinds of players we’ll give him more opportunity.”
• Seattle had to play Tuesday’s game with just five defensemen. Reece Harsch continues to miss time due to injury. Jarret Tyszka is currently with the Montreal Canadiens but also suffered an injury. Payton McIssac was also out with an undisclosed injury.
• With the win Seattle improved its preseason record to 4-2-0-0. With one more preseason game left, Saturday in Everett, the Thunderbirds have clinched a winning record in the preseason and a chance to match their 5-2-0-0 preseason in 2016.