THUNDERBIRDS

T-Birds take too many penalties, drop Game 1 to Everett 3-0

Apr 9, 2016, 10:14 AM | Updated: Apr 14, 2016, 3:18 pm
Everett’s Remi Laurenelle celebrates one of his two goals in Everett’s 3-0 win at Seatt...
Everett's Remi Laurenelle celebrates one of his two goals in Everett's 3-0 win at Seattle. (T-Birds photo)
(T-Birds photo)

Coming into Friday’s Game 1 with the Everett Silvertips, it had been nearly two months since the Thunderbirds had lost a game in regulation.

It was the Silvertips who beat Seattle back on Feb. 20, and Friday night they did it again, this time by a 3-0 score.

Everett took advantage of a Seattle team playing without its top two goal scorers and its best defenseman to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven, second-round series. Remi Laurencelle scored twice for the Silvertips as the T-Birds took too many penalties and couldn’t find a way to beat Everett’s Carter Hart.

The T-Birds gave the Silvertips nine power plays, and while they only scored on one, it was enough to change the momentum and keep Seattle from being able to generate any offense.

“That was the difference,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “I thought early on we did some things well, we had some chances we didn’t capitalize on and then they capitalized on their power play.”

It’s a story that is well familiar to the T-Birds in the season series with Everett, especially when it comes to trying to beat Hart.

The Everett netminder made 26 saves to pick up his first playoff shutout. It’s his seventh win against the T-Birds in 11 starts and he’s only allowed 13 goals against Seattle on the year.

“We’ve got to keep shooting,” Konowalchuk said. “A couple of times we kicked it away from the house. We want to keep going with pucks towards the net. He made some good saves. We want to keep putting pucks on him and crashing the net with traffic for rebounds.”

Things didn’t start bad for Seattle as it outshot Everett 13-4 in the first period and seemed to be in control of the play. The T-Birds even appeared to have scored a first-period power-play goal. Donovan Neuls potted a back hander past Hart, but an official was quick to waive it off. He had called a cross-checking penalty on Seattle prior to the shot and the goal didn’t count.

The Silvertips gained momentum in the second period with a power-play chance where Seattle goalie Landon Bow was forced to make several tough saves. They followed that up minutes later with a nice passing play starting with Carson Stadnyk finding Laurencelle in the slot. He had room, made a good move and slid the puck past Bow.

Near the end of the second period and trailing 1-0, Seattle found itself down two men for an extended period of time. Cavin Leth was called for a double minor for high sticking which meant that even if the T-Birds could get through the two-man advantage, they would still have to kill off another Everett power play.

The penalties carried over into the third period, and while Seattle killed off the 5-on-3, they couldn’t get out of the situation unscathed.

Everett would take a 2-0 lead when Matt Fonteyne skated into the Seattle zone and beat Bow with a hard and high wrist shot.

“We just about get through that five-on-three there,” Konowalchuk said. “If we get through that I think we get a lot of momentum there and it could be a different game.”

Seattle lost momentum, however, and Laurencelle would score his second later in the period to make it 3-0 and put the exclamation point on the win for the Silvertips.

It was a rough night all over for Seattle, which was playing without Ryan Gropp, Keegan Kolesar and Jerret Smith. Gropp continues to nurse an injury while Kolesar was serving the last game of a two-game suspension he picked up in Game 3 against Prince George. Smith was a surprise scratch on Friday; Konowalchuk said he was not feeling well and was day-to-day.

That meant that Seattle deployed a mix-match of lines, none of which were able to generate consistent scoring chances.

“You’re pretty much just throwing out whoever you can at times,” Konowalchuk said. “I thought at five-on-five at times we did some good things, got some shots but we want to keep playing five-on-five.”

Seattle will now have to do something it hasn’t had to do much of over the last couple of months – rebound from a loss.

“We’ve got to regroup,” Konowalchuk said. “You’re not going to keep winning every game. We’ve got to regroup and be better (next game).”

Game 2 is Sunday afternoon at the ShoWare Center with a 5 p.m. faceoff.

Notes

• After being outshot 13-4 in the first period, the Silvertips ended up out shooting Seattle 29-26 overall.

• The Silvertips are now 5-0 in the postseason and the only club that has yet to lose a game in the playoffs.

• Monroe native Luke Ormsby made his WHL postseason debut Friday night for the T-Birds. He played sparingly on Seattle’s fourth line.

• The T-Birds will have Kolesar back for Game 2 on Sunday, which means that they may go back to their more traditional line combinations. After the game Konowalchuk was diplomatic about that prospect and hinted that the return of Kolesar gave them options.

Follow Andy Eide on Twitter @andyeide.

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