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Everett scores four in third period to sink Thunderbirds

Andrej Kukuca battles along the boards with Everett's Shavan Khaira during Saturday's game (Brian Liesse/T-Birds)

KENT – Everett Silvertips forward Bryce Kindopp had a special game against the Thunderbirds Friday night at the accesso ShoWare Center.

He notched his first career hat trick with all three scores coming on special team goals as the Silvertips blew open a tight game in the third period. Kindopp scored twice on the power play and while short-handed to end the night with 28 goals on the season.

Everett scored four times in the final frame to skate away with a 5-2 win over the Thunderbirds.

Former Thunderbird Zack Andrusiak played his first game back at the ShoWare Center and assisted on two of Kindopp’s markers while adding a goal of his own.

“We were fully composed and playing a decent hockey game for 40 minutes,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “I thought we lost a little of our composure there, some of our focus. The early power-play goal against was avoidable and we went down for our daily five-on-three, which cost us again. That ended up the difference.”

Seattle (19-23-5-1) had chances on its power play but would struggle to a 1-for-5 effort. The only power-play goal the Thunderbirds did score was on a five-on-three in the third period. Matthew Wedman would score his 23rd of the season from the side of the net to cut the Everett lead to 3-2 at the time.

That’s when the wheels fell off for the Thunderbirds.

“I thought we didn’t have the execution at times,” O’Dette said of his power play. “We got our five-on-three goal, which we needed to have. After that, we didn’t execute, and we totally spaced out on what we were supposed to do on our breakout. We kind of let the officiating and the flow of the game take us off our focus and the game got away from us in the third.”

Everett (36-12-1-1) would run away with the game over the final six minutes by scoring twice more on goals from Dawson Butt and Andrusiak’s 35th of the year.

After being named WHL Rookie of the Month, Thunderbirds goalie Roddy Ross allowed five goals on 38 shots. It is the most goals he’s allowed since joining the team in January. He played well however and gave the Thunderbirds a shot to win.

The Thunderbirds started the game strong and dominated the first period.

They out shot the Silvertips 14-5 but could not push a goal past goalie Dustin Wolf, who ended the night with 29 stops.

“You always want to get the first goal there,” O’Dette said about the first period. “We had momentum and jump early, their goalie played pretty well. We didn’t get it, but we were on task and on our game plan which we executed early. When the focus went away, so did the game plan.”

Andrej Kukuca would give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead 14:51 into the second period when he flipped a shot over Wolf’s shoulder from the side of the net.

That lead wouldn’t last long for Seattle as Kindopp made a steal while killing off a penalty and raced down the ice by himself. He made a nice move to score with a backhand for his first of the night and 26th of the season.

The Thunderbirds started the third period short-handed and Kindopp would score his second on a wrist shot from the high slot. He would add another power-play marker six minutes later to give the Silvertips a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

“(It’s) Just discipline,” Noah Philp, who picked up two assists on the night, said. “We were playing well and executing the game plan for the first 40 and then penalties got the worst of us.”

It was only the second regulation loss for the Thunderbirds in their last 11 games and with the loss, they were caught by the Kamloops Blazers and are tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Saturday was a test for the new look Thunderbirds and for the first two periods, were matching the first-place Silvertips.

There are no moral victories, but it was perhaps the most competitive Seattle has played Everett, at least for 40 minutes.

“We were playing well, when we play at our best we can hang,” O’Dette said. “But it takes our best. And it takes 60 minutes to see it through and finish the job.”

The Thunderbirds will get a second shot at the Silvertips Saturday night as they head up I-5 for the second game in the weekend home and home.

“The good news is that we’ve got them tomorrow,” Philp said. “We’ve got a chance to redeem ourselves and play the full 60, the way we know we can.”

Notes

• Seattle’s Sean Richards was also playing against his former club but did not register a point.

• Kai Uchacz, Seattle’s first pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, made his WHL debut Friday night and played well in a limited role. The center recorded one shot and won three of the four faceoffs he took.

• The special teams continue to be a struggle for Seattle. In the last four games, the Thunderbirds are 2-for-19 with the man advantage and have allowed short-handed goals in back to back games.

• Wedman extended his goal streak to four straight games with a marker, a stretch that has seen him score five times.