THUNDERBIRDS

Thunderbirds open long road trip with 4-2 loss to Kootenay

Oct 27, 2017, 9:05 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2017, 6:12 am

The Seattle Thunderbirds got off to a strong early start Friday night but weren’t able to sustain it.

After taking a lead, the Thunderbirds surrendered three straight goals to the Kootenay ICE in the second period and would go on to drop a 4-2 decision at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, B.C.. Seattle got goals from Zack Andrusiak and Austin Strand but couldn’t finish its chances throughout the night and started its long road trip with a loss.

“We got off our game plan a little bit there,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “A couple miscues, we turned the puck over. We got off the game plan just a little bit and they capitalized on a couple plays and we turned it around in the third again but just couldn’t capitalize.”

Kootenay (5-7-1-0) was paced by four different goal scorers and 37 saves by goalie Kurtis Chapman as he picked up his second win of the season.

Seattle (5-5-0-1) played a strong first period and punctuated it with a goal by Andrusiak at 14:08. Noah Philp got him the puck with some speed and his scored his third on a hard wrist shot. The Thunderbirds ended the opening frame with the one-goal lead and a 14-8 shot advantage.

That momentum didn’t carry over into the second period as Kootenay got the game even 56 seconds into it when Vince Loschiavo fired a shot past Matt Berlin from the high slot for his fifth of the year. Kootenay did gain momentum off its goal and took the lead less than a minute later when Colton Kroeker fired a shot from the blue line that found its way into the net.

“It was just plays that we veered away from the game plan for a few minute span there and they got some momentum from it,” O’Dete said about the second period.

The Thunderbirds would struggle managing the puck for much of the second period and it cost them again late in the frame. A turnover in the neutral zone led to a two-on-one for the ICE and Petyon Krebs cashed in at 18:57 for his third marker.

“Every play is magnified, especially when you’re struggling to score goals,” O’Dette said. “We make a couple of mistakes and don’t capitalize on our chances, and that was the difference in the game.

Seattle would right the ship somewhat in the third period and again would outshoot the ICE 11-8 but ran into a problem finishing chances – something that the Thunderbirds have experienced at times during the early part of this season.

Often times they would pour the puck on the Kootenay net but after the initial save by Chapman, couldn’t find the rebound. A couple open nets were missed as pucks were swept wide, or a cross bar was hit. A couple inches here and there and the score could have been different.

“We were buzzing around the net, we had a couple open net looks,” O’Dette said. “We’re having trouble putting the puck in the net. It’s a matter of finishing the play off.”

Strand would make things interesting for the Thunderbirds when he scored his sixth power-play goal, and sixth goal overall, with 5:36 left in the third period. Seattle kept pushing for the equalizer but the comeback would end when Cameron Hausinger’s shot would trickle into the empty Seattle net with just 52 seconds left in the contest.

The Thunderbirds will be right back in action Saturday night as they move on to Calgary to take on the Hitmen at 6 pm.

Notes

• The T-Birds were without defensemen Aaron Hyman and Jarret Tyszka. Both players suffered injuries during Sunday’s win in Everett. O’Dette thought there was a chance that Tyszka could be back Saturday but they were going to follow the appropriate protocol and wait to see.

• The Thunderbirds ended the night 1-for-4 on the power play while Kootenay was 0-for-2. However, Kroeker’s goal in the second period came during a delayed penalty call and was scored with an extra attacker on the ice.

• Berlin got the start and made 27 saves in the loss. With a three-in-three weekend, O’Dette said that Liam Hughes would be in net for Saturday’s game against the Hitmen.

• Sami Moilanen was held off the scoresheet Friday and had his seven-game point streak snapped.

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