THUNDERBIRDS

Thunderbirds stun Silvertips in Game 2 on Zack Andrusiak overtime goal

Mar 24, 2018, 11:23 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2018, 12:25 am
Zack Andrusiak celebrates his overtime winner in Seattle's Game 2 win. (Brian Liesse/ T-Birds)...
Zack Andrusiak celebrates his overtime winner in Seattle's Game 2 win. (Brian Liesse/ T-Birds)
(Brian Liesse/ T-Birds)

EVERETT – There’s something about Game 2’s in Everett that fit with Seattle’s Zack Andrusiak.

A year ago, the Thunderbirds forward scored a game-tying goal against Everett in Game 2 and Saturday night he would win the game for the Thunderbirds in overtime.

After Everett had tied the game with under a minute left in regulation, Andrusiak would be the hero 5:04 into overtime as he scored a spectacular goal to send the Thunderbirds to a 5-4 overtime win at Angels of the Winds Arena.

“We needed the win,” Andrusiak said. “This is a big one tonight obviously, to split. Get the home ice advantage, that was a big one and I just tried to step up and help the team as best I could.”

Andrusiak picked the puck up in the neutral zone and attacked the Everett zone and two defenders who were back. He made a play with the puck and split the two Silvertips which allowed him to fire a backhand shot that beat Carter Hart high over his blocker.

As the Seattle bench poured onto the ice in celebration, the Thunderbirds had earned a road split as they took back home ice advantage in their best-of-seven series.

“It was an intense game,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “It had a bit of everything. A lot of special teams, lots of scrums and extracurricular activities after the whistles. Character win by the guys. With them tying it up late and bounce back in overtime. Good response from last night.”

The game featured a number of ebbs and flows and could have gone either way. The Thunderbirds overcame a couple of big momentum swings to grind out a win and tie the series at 1-1. No swing was bigger than Everett tying the game late with the extra attacker on the ice.

Garrett Pilon, who had a hat trick Saturday, took three whacks at the puck from the side of the net and was able to get the third one past goalie Liam Hughes with 54 seconds left. It was a deflating goal and it could have spelled doom for Seattle.

“We were confident,” Andrusiak said about the mood in the room after the third period. “We were happy with the game we had played so far. Obviously when you give up that goal late you have to bounce back. We were up to the task.”

Seattle was up to the task all night and got a big game from its captain, Turner Ottenbreit.

The defenseman scored a goal and added two assists while logging a ton of minutes as he was seemingly on the ice the entire night. His goal came in the second period on a blistering slap shot from the point while on the power play and gave Seattle a 3-2 lead.

“We knew it was a do-or-die game and we needed this one to get the split on the road,” Ottenbreit said. “That’s what we wanted coming into this series, was a two-game split and we got it. It was a hard fought game tonight. They played really well and so did we, it could have gone either way.”

After Ottenbreit gave Seattle the lead at 13:23 of the second, Pilon would pot his second of the night four minutes later to tie the game back at three.

Seattle would then get a goal from an unlikely source.

Mike MacLean snapped a loose puck past Hart from the slot at 7:35 of the third period to give Seattle a 4-3 lead. It was his first career playoff goal and most certainly, the biggest goal he’s ever scored.

“It’s tough for those guys that might be sitting there for a little while and then get called upon,” O’Dette said of MacLean. “He had some really good shifts, a lot of poise with the puck. Made some smart decisions with it and got it down into their end. It was snice finish there, its playoff time, you get contributions and big goals at big times, and that was one of those moments.”

The Silvertips took an early lead Saturday when Martin Fasko-Rudas scored his first of the playoffs at 2:17 of the first.

As they did all night, the Thunderbirds would respond. First it was a point shot from Austin Strand on the power play at 4:15 and then two minutes later, Sami Moilanen would put back a rebound to give Seattle it’s first lead of the game.

Pilon would score his first, 33 seconds into the second period, on a 5-on-3 power-play chance for Everett as the back and forth continued.

With the score tied at three Everett’s Riley Sutter was given a five-minute major for kneeing Jake Lee. Seattle had a golden opportunity to take control of the game on the power play but was unable to score. The Thunderbirds ended the night 2-for-3 with the man advantage while Everett was 1-for-5.

“I thought even though we didn’t score, towards the end of that power play we generated a few chances which helped us get some momentum out of it,” O’Dette said.

The win means that the series shifts back to the ShoWare Center and the Thunderbirds now have home ice advantage. Scoring five goals on the stingiest goalie in the WHL has to help with the confidence as the Thunderbirds washed away a Game 1 performance they weren’t happy with.

“It’s the old cliché if you can get the split it’s a good step,” O’Dette said. “We just wanted to play well and improve on our game last night, it wasn’t our best game. We needed multiple guys to step it up and improve their game from last night, and we got that.”

Notes

• Hart had only given up five goals once during the regular season. He had not given up more than three in any other game. He ended the night with 28 saves.

• Hughes was solid for Seattle in picking up his first post-season win by making 45 saves for the Thunderbirds.

• Donovan Neuls and Matthew Wedman each chipped in with two assists for the Thunderbirds.

• Seattle’s playoff record against Everett improved to 13-3 with the win.

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds GM Bil La Forge has some moves to make this offseason. (Brian Liesse/T-Birds photo)...
Andy Eide

Thunderbirds GM Bil La Forge dishes on the upcoming offseason

Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge will make some moves this summer to improve his club. Will they be big ones?
2 years ago
Seattle’s Keltie Jeri-Leon celebrates his final WHL goal Sunday against Spokane. (Brian Liess...
Andy Eide

Thunderbirds end strange and hard season on a high note with dominating win over Spokane

The Seattle Thunderbirds dealt with a lot of adversity this season but end on a high note.
2 years ago
Keltie Jeri-Leon plays his final WHL game for the Thunderbirds Sunday night. (Brian Liesse)...
Andy Eide

Keltie Jeri-Leon set to play his final WHL game as Thunderbirds face Spokane Sunday

After five seasons, Seattle's lone over-aged player, Keltie Jeri-Leon will play his final junior game Sunday night.
2 years ago
Seattle rookie Scott Ratzlaff won his first WHL game in his first start. (Judy Simpson/TC Americans...
Andy Eide

Scott Ratzlaff earns first WHL win as Thunderbirds beat Tri-City

Behind a rookie goalie, the Thunderbirds kicked off the season's final weekend with a 5-2 win in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans.
2 years ago
The Seattle Thunderbirds celebrate after snapping a six-game losing streak Sunday night. (Brian Lie...
Andy Eide

Thunderbirds enjoy winning again after snapping six-game losing streak

The Seattle Thunderbirds have been scuffling but battled against a good Portland Winterhawks club to snap a six-game losing streak.
2 years ago
Thunderbirds forward Reid Schaefer fights for position Sunday in Portland. (Megan Connelly/Winterha...
Andy Eide

Dealing with adversity, young Thunderbirds drop pair of games in Portland

Injuries and penalties have thrown a ton of adversity at the young Thunderbirds which showed up in a pair of losses at Portland this weekend.
2 years ago
Thunderbirds stun Silvertips in Game 2 on Zack Andrusiak overtime goal