Blazers stymie T-Birds 3-1 to end winning streak

Oct 16, 2013, 9:56 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2013, 9:26 pm

By Andrew Eide

The Thunderbirds headed north to Kamloops Wednesday night with a great deal of excitement swirling around the club. The recent news concerning Ryan Gropp and more importantly their five game winning streak was the predominant chatter all day. That all faded away into the distance quickly however as they were shut down 3-1 by the Kamloops Blazers at the Interior Savings Centre.

Tim Bozon paced the Blazers with two goals and Bolton Pouliot made 31 saves as Seattle could not generate any energy or offense all night long.

“We got out worked,” Steve Konowalchuk said after. “We weren’t ready to play. They (Kamloops) stuck to their game plan and we thought it was going to be an easy game and that they were going to give it to us.”

Seattle (8-3-0-0) was not sharp from the beginning. They weren’t connecting on passes and struggled to get into their forechecking game – which has been one of the big keys to their success so far.

“You turn the puck over in the neutral zone because you’re not in the game plan,” Konowalchuk said about his team’s struggles. “Then you can’t get into your forecheck, we weren’t skating with the purpose of forechecking.”

The T-Birds did manage to get on the board first with a Shea Theodore power play goal as he beat Pouliot with a nice slap shot from the point. From there the game slowed down into a slog as neither team was able to generate any sustained pressure. Kamloops (4-7-0-0) evened the game when Bozon out raced the Seattle defense to a puck on a four on four situation and beat Justin Myles on a breakaway.

Kamloops extended the lead in the second when they scored on two more odd man rushes. First it was Bozon, for his second, on a two on one after a Seattle drop pass was intercepted at the blue line. The third goal was scored by Chase Souto, on a Kamloops power play, as he got behind the defense to collect a stretch pass and had a clear path to the net.

The T-Birds were given a golden opportunity to get back into the game at the end of the period when Ryan Rehill clipped Keegan Kolesar with a high stick that drew blood – and a double minor penalty. The four minutes of continued power play carried into the third period but Seattle was unable to cash in. They had four more power play chances, including a minute of a two-man advantage, later in the period and went scoreless in all of them.

“We weren’t desperate enough, we waited,” Konowalchuk said of the power play. “If we did have a play we hesitated and it gave them a chance to get in the shot lane instead of just making a pass or shooting the puck.”

Seattle ended the night 1-for-8 with the man advantage and kicked away a chance to not only come back but to put the game away. The loss snaps their five game win streak and deflates some of the recent excitement surrounding the club.

The T-Birds have kicked games like this earlier in the year when they got blown out by Portland and then shut out by Tri City — after winning three in a row. Did they look past a Kamloops team that did not have a good record?

“It sure looked like we didn’t want to go out and fight for every inch of ice,” Konowalchuk said. “I’m not sure if it was because of the standings, I’m sure it was different for each individual.”

Seattle gets a chance to right the ship Friday as they host the Prince George Cougars at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

Game Notes

With as well as Seattle has been playing, one area that they have struggled on is the power play. It let them down on Wednesday and they are now 18th in the league at only 16.7 percent.

The loss combined with Spokane’s win on Wednesday dropped the T-Birds to second place in the U.S. Division behind the Chiefs.

Ryan Gropp was in attendance at the game and it was announced that he will wear number 12 when he does make his T-Birds debut. No word as to when that will be yet but with two home games this weekend there is a good chance he will see some action.

Connor Honey was a scratch again and has now been listed as ‘week to week’ as he continues to nurse an injury.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andyeide

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
Blazers stymie T-Birds 3-1 to end winning streak