Thunderbirds allow eight straight goals in blow out loss to Spokane

Dec 9, 2017, 10:20 PM
Spokane's Tyson Helgesen celebrates his second period goal as the Chiefs routed Seattle on Saturday...
Spokane's Tyson Helgesen celebrates his second period goal as the Chiefs routed Seattle on Saturday night (Larry Brunt)
(Larry Brunt)

The Thunderbirds were in Spokane Saturday night and brought their second period problems with them.

For the second straight night they surrendered four goals in the second period while getting heavily out shot by the Spokane Chiefs. They found a way to fight back Friday night, but wouldn’t be able to do so on Saturday as the Chiefs would use that big period and charge on to a dominant 9-2 victory.

“Not a good game obviously,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said after. “I thought we hung tough in the first period and did some good things. We had the lead 1-0, we made a mistake for them to tie the game and it kind of snowballed from there. We didn’t have an answer for their attack.”

Spokane (16-11-1-2) would score eight unanswered goals while outshooting the beleaguered Thunderbirds by a 40-19 margin. The Chiefs had a hat trick from Milos Fafrack and two goals apiece from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Zach Fischer.

Playing with only five defensemen, as they did for the majority of Friday’s loss, the Thunderbirds struggled in the defensive zone. Their inexperienced defense had its hands full and again, there were lapses in back-checking duties from the forwards.

“We need to do a better job on the back checking,” O’Dette said. “Those guys are young on defense and they had a hard time with some of their top guys. Even veteran guys are going to have a hard time with Anderson-Dolan and (Kailer) Yamamoto. Playing short there kind of caught up with us.”

In the end, it turned into an ugly and forgettable affair for a T-Birds squad that has been outshot 81-36 in the last two games.

Seattle (13-14-3-1) would find a way to score first on Saturday, at the 13:44 mark of the opening period, when a Jarret Tyszka wrist shot would beat Donovan Buskey during a Thunderbirds’ power play.

The Chiefs would score less than a minute later when Anderson-Dolan found the puck during a scramble play in front of the net and deposited his 11th of the season past Dorrin Luding. That brought a shower of plush teddy bears onto the ice and a lengthy delay as the cleanup began.

Tied at one, the doors would come off for Seattle in the second.

The Thunderbirds had to kill off two early penalties which set the tone as Spokane would end the middle frame with a four-goal lead and a 26-12 advantage in shots.

The avalanche of goals started just over four minutes in when Jake McGrew was left alone in front of Luding for his fifth of the season. Just 20 seconds later, Tyson Helgesen wasn’t picked up by Seattle back-checkers and he potted his fourth of the year to make it 3-1.

Fischer would pick up his 12th of the year with six minutes left after a nifty stick-handling play in the high slot. That goal ended the night for Luding who was replaced by Matt Berlin after making 19 saves.

Berlin would be welcomed two minutes later by Fafrack who would add his first of the night to put the Chiefs in a commanding 5-1 advantage.

“I think second periods have been pretty good for us throughout the year,” O’Dette said. “We lost momentum and they’re pretty good off the rush. We don’t get pucks deep and manage the puck well, they’re going to come the other way with three, four, five guys. They’re dangerous and we gave them way too many opportunities.”

The barrage would continue in the third period as Anderson-Dolan scored again short-handed and that would be followed up with a second goal from Fischer along with two more from Fafrack. Reece Harsch would add a power-play goal late for Seattle to round out the scoring.

Seattle will have a week off before hosting the Prince George Cougars in its last home game before the holiday break.

“We’ve had some adversity here so far this season,” O’Dette said. “It’s to be expected for a young team. It’s a lot to go through for some of these guys and we need to have a good week of practice here and finish strong, going into the break.”


• The nine goals allowed is the second most that Seattle has surrendered this season but the seven-goal margin of is the biggest defeat so far.

• Seattle’s Dillon Hamaliuk played against his older brother Dalton on Saturday. The elder, a defenseman for Spokane, had his hands full with his younger brother during an entertaining moment in the third period as the brothers battled in the corner for the puck.

• The last two, second periods that the Thunderbirds have played have seen them surrender eight goals, while not scoring any themselves. Prior to Friday night they had outscored their opponents 35-31 in the middle frame.

• Saturday was the last night that the T-Birds will have Sami Moilanen in the lineup until after the World Junior Championships. The Finnish import will be leaving to join Team Finland’s camp to prepare for the upcoming tournament, which starts the day after Christmas.


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