T-Birds, Landon Bow shut out Silvertips 1-0

Mar 12, 2016, 9:52 AM | Updated: 10:26 am

KENT – After shutting out the Everett Silvertips for the second time in 14 days, Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Landon Bow had a simple explanation for his play.

“Just be big and don’t let the puck in, that’s all I can think about,” he said.

Bow made 21 saves Friday night to lead Seattle to its ninth straight win as it shut out the Silvertips 1-0 in front of 6,046 at the ShoWare Center. Nick Holowko scored the game’s lone goal and put the T-Birds four points up on Everett in the U.S. Division with only five games to go.

With the playoffs looming, the T-Birds found a way to win yet another close, tight affair that felt and sounded just like a postseason game.

“What an atmosphere for our guys to learn how to play,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “In front of these fans, great fans and a good team over there. This is what playoffs are going to be like. You’ve got to be able to play with nerves.”

The T-Birds were coming off a week without any games and didn’t show any rust to start the game. They were hitting, got their forecheck going and outshot the Silvertips 6-1 over the game’s first 12 minutes.

After being held off the scoreboard in their last game, the T-Birds’ top line got them going in the first on Friday night. Mathew Barzal led a rush by sending the puck to Ryan Gropp, who went wide and sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Holowko, who banged home his sixth goal of the season.

“I feel like I was kind of behind the play,” Holowko said. “All the defense were gravitating towards Barzal and Gropp so I kind of snuck in the back door.”

Seattle’s defense would take the game over from there.

The T-Birds kept the Silvertips to the outside and held them to only five shots in each of the first two frames. Everett was able to get a little bit of a push in the third period but was unable to find the game-tying goal.

It was Bow’s seventh shutout of the season and he now leads the WHL in white-washings. As tough as Everett goalie Carter Hart has been on Seattle, Bow has been even tougher in his last three starts against the Silvertips.

“He’s a big guy and he likes to get out and challenge,” Konowalchuk said. “Hockey IQ, same as Hart, they read the play real well. That’s why they’re able to get square to so many pucks. Bow has that, where he can read the play.”

In his last three starts against Everett, Bow is 3-0 with only one goal allowed. That’s good for a 0.09 goals-against and an astonishing .989 save percentage. On top of that he stopped all seven shooters in a shootout last Friday.

Bow was at his best when he helped Seattle kill off a late third period penalty as the T-Birds were perfect on the night and went 3 for 3 while short handed.

“Huge PK, again, just trying to put pressure on them,” Konowalchuk said. “Good kill by our guys, good saves there and we did what we needed to do to get it done.”

Both of Seattle’s goalies have been good during its current stretch of winning 13 of its last 14 games. Bow has been big as has Logan Flodell, who has come in and won his starts.

For Bow, he is now in the middle of a playoff run after being traded to Seattle from a Swift Current Broncos team that is going to miss the postseason all together.

“This is what you want,” Bow said. “Everyone wants to be tops in your division going for a real good chance at winning a Memorial Cup. It makes it exciting to come to the rink every day.”

Seattle still has work to do in order to clinch its first division title since 2005. The magic number is six points and can come from any combination of Everett losses or Seattle wins.

The T-Birds will be in Portland on Saturday night while the Silvertips will travel to Kennewick to play the Tri City Americans.

Notes

• After having his 13-game point streak snapped last Sunday, Barzal had an assist Friday to get back on the ledger.

• Seattle played seven games in 10 nights, but it was able to come out on Friday without losing any momentum. “We knew we had to practice hard,” Bow said. “We couldn’t take any days off and practiced like it’s a game.”

• If the playoffs were to start today, the T-Birds would have a first round matchup with the Prince George Cougars.

• After starting 1-6 against the Silvertips, the T-Birds have won three straight against their rivals and finish the season series 4-6 against them.

Follow Andy Eide on Twitter @andyeide.

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