THUNDERBIRDS

Thunderbirds comeback falls short in 5-3 preseason loss to Everett

Sep 15, 2017, 10:41 PM | Updated: 11:41 pm

EVERETT – The Thunderbirds kicked off a home-in-home with the Everett Silvertips on Friday as the preseason entered its final weekend.

After falling behind by three goals, Seattle made a commendable comeback bid in the third period only to fall short 5-3 to the homestanding Silvertips. Donovan Neuls scored twice for Seattle in the loss but it wasn’t enough to counter five different Everett goal scorers as the Thunderbirds’ preseason record falls to 1-5.

“I thought there was some improvement from our last two games, especially in the d-zone but still a long way to go there,” head coach Matt O’Dette said. “There’s still some breakdowns but I thought we played a lot more in their end than previous couple of games.”

Seattle has fallen behind in the start of most of the preseason games and Friday was no different. The Thunderbirds took three first-period penalties and would fall behind 3-0 on the night before getting their game going in the third period.

Preseason or regular season, falling behind puts any team in a tough spot.

“We haven’t been coming out strong in the first period lately so we have to focus and do something about that because you can’t win a game playing two periods,” Neuls said about his team’s start. “I thought the second and third were a lot better but those penalties in the first period we couldn’t get into the flow of the game. Something’s got to change there.”

The Thunderbirds did play with more intensity as the game wore on and scored three goals in the third period, pulling to within one goal before an empty net tally by Everett’s Orin Centazzo in the waning seconds iced the game for the Silvertips.

With one more preseason game to go, the Thunderbirds are still a work in progress but perhaps the third-period comeback attempt can be a building block.

“Some things to build off of and some things that still need work,” O’Dette said of the game’s final two frames. “We’re going to regroup and come back tomorrow.”

After a cautious start by both teams, the Silvertips struck first at 15:53 when Reece Vitelli found a loose puck in the slot, spun and slid it past goalie Matt Berlin. The Thunderbirds then started taking penalties which resulted in three Everett power plays in the first period, with the last carrying over into the middle period.

The penalties would catch up with Seattle just 1:12 into the second when Brandson Hein snapped a centering pass in front of the Thunderbird goal that was banged home by Sean Richards to make it 2-0.

Everett extended its lead to 3-0 late in the period when a Seattle turnover deep in its own zone ended on the stick of Connor Dewar who got a back hand past Berlin at the 13:53 mark.

Donovan Neuls would cut the lead to 3-1 just 31 seconds into the third period when he beat Dorrin Luding in front during a Seattle power play after getting a nice feed from Nolan Volcan. The momentum of that goal was short-lived however as Dawson Butt would put the Silvertips back up by three 1:36 later.

Butt’s goal would end up being a killer blow when it was all said and done.

“We get some momentum going they come down and score an untimely goal,” O’Dette said. “It killed our momentum. We’ll look at some video and correct some things tomorrow.”

After Butt scored, the third period goal fest continued as Nuels scored again when he was left in front of the Everett net and lifted a back-handed shot home to bring Seattle back to within two goals at 4-2.

Tyler Adams then would get the Thunderbirds to within one at 4-3 when he beat Luding on the short side while streaking down the wing but that is as close as Seattle would get. The Everett goaltender ended the night with 25 saves and picked up his second preseason win.

The Thunderbirds will head home for a rematch with Everett Saturday night at the ShoWare Center. It will be the last tune up for the team before the season opening game on September 23rd against Tri City.

“We want to improve on what we’re doing and we are taking some steps,” O’Dette said of the preseason finale. “I know the results aren’t there but we look for a better performance than tonight and keep moving in that direction.”

Notes

• Matt Berlin went the distance in net for Seattle and stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced. He will continue to be Seattle’s number one goalie as Carl Stankowski continues to be out with injury. On Friday, Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said Stankowski was rehabbing but is still most likely a month away from returning.

• Sami Moilanen was a scratch Friday night as he is nursing an injury as well.

• Seattle only had one power-play opportunity on Friday and cashed in on it. Everett was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.

• Volcan, Austin Strand and Jarret Tyszka were all back in the lineup for Seattle after playing in NHL camps. Defenseman Turner Ottenbreit is still in camp with the Anaheim Ducks.

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