Dorrin Luding stymies former club as Thunderbirds beat Silvertips
EVERETT – Dorrin Luding tried to view Saturday’s game with the Everett Silvertips at the Angels of the Wind Arena just like any other game.
The Thunderbirds goaltender got the start Saturday against an Everett club that had traded him earlier in the season and may have been feeling an extra jolt of motivation. Whether he was extra motivated or not, he kicked out 41 shots as well as stopping two Silvertips in the shootout as Seattle snapped a four-game losing streak in a 3-2 win.
He denied former teammate Patrick Bajkov to seal the victory and skated to the corner where he waited for his teammates to mob him in celebration.
“I didn’t even know we won at first,” Luding said of the on-ice celebration. “I was just waiting for the next shot and then I saw the boys coming off the bench, we won.”
As good as he was in the shootout, it would be in the last four minutes of the game that Luding was at his best.
With the game tied at two, Everett (37-17-2-3) turned up the pressure and had the Thunderbirds on their heels. Luding turned away a series of Grade-A scoring chances in a third period that saw him make 21 saves and get the game into overtime.
“The heart rate came up,” Luding said about the final stretch of the game. “I just took it save by save, shot by shot. The boys helped me a lot and saved me a lot, they get the win.”
It would be the third straight overtime game that Seattle (28-20-7-2) would play with Everett and was a nice bounce back win after the Thunderbirds dropped Friday’s game to the Silvertips.
“A gritty effort by the guys,” Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette said. “Guys played hard in front of (Luding). What else can you say about the character of our team? The guys put that on display again tonight.”
Seattle overcame five Silvertips power-play chances which included a stretch in the second period where they had to kill off three consecutive penalties. That slowed the momentum that Seattle had built up after falling behind 1-0 in the first period.
Blake Bargar would convert on one of Seattle’s two power-play chances at 1:42 of the second period when he snapped a rebound past Everett goalie Carter Hart. Going back to Friday’s game, it was the third straight power-play conversion against the Silvertips and their top-ranked penalty kill unit.
“Our opportunities are few and far between,” O’Dette said of his power play. “But we keep it simple and get pucks to the net. That was a greasy one in front of the net. Barg’s drew that penalty and got rewarded on the power play with a goal.”
The Thunderbirds would take their first lead of the night two minutes later when defenseman Jarret Tyszka notched his seventh of the season when he beat Hart through a screen.
That’s when Seattle found itself in penalty trouble and even though it killed off three power plays, the momentum had swung.
“I thought our first 40 was good and we got derailed by penalties,” O’Dette said. “Games in this building are huge momentum swings. It can get away from you quick and I felt like we stemmed the tide when that was starting to happened and tried to get the momentum back.”
Before Seattle could get the momentum back however, Everett would tie the game at two.
Flying down the wing, Riley Sutter would find a way to squeak a shot past Luding for his 23rd of the season at the 16:20 mark. That would set up a third period that saw Everett finish with a flurry of shots but fail to beat their former teammate in Luding.
“It felt weird at first obviously,” Luding said about facing his old team. “As the game went on after warm ups I felt pretty comfortable. There’s a little motivation, you want to get the W so proud to get it.”
The Silvertips had taken a lead in the first period when former Thunderbird Luke Ormsby flung the puck to Martin Fasko-Rudas who banged home his fourth marker just under 17 minutes into the game.
In the shootout, Noah Philp converted first with a smooth back handed shot that he lifted over Hart’s shoulder. Matt Fonteyne would rip a shot past Luding for Everett but Seattle answered back when Zack Andrusiak did the same at the other end.
That set up the Bajkov-Luding match up that would decide it for the Thunderbirds.
With the win, Seattle now has a chance to earn five out of the possible six points this weekend when it hosts the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs have won seven of their last 10 and come into Sunday holding a four-point lead over Seattle in the U.S. Division standings.
For the Thunderbirds, it will be their third game in as many nights and finding energy will be crucial.
“Recharge the battery here,” O’Dette said about the preparation for Sunday. “Get it ramped up again. It will take another big effort tomorrow to get another two points.”
• Everett’s Sean Richards was not in the lineup as he is facing a suspension due to the hit he threw on Tyszka during Friday’s game at the ShoWare Center. The league had not yet determined the overall length of the suspension at game time.
• The shootout win was the second for Luding this year and Seattle now moves to 7-2 when the game is decided in the skills competition.
• The 41 saves were the most by Luding in a Seattle sweater. He had notched 42 saves with Everett during a Sept. 24th win against Tri-City.
• By earning two points, Seattle moved eight points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers lost in a shootout at home to Prince George Saturday.