T-Birds fall in Kennewick 5-3 for 14th straight loss
By Andrew Eide
The Tri-City Americans handed the T-Birds their 14th straight loss Sunday night, beating them 5-3 in the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Tri-City’s Justin Feser led the Americans with three goals, the second straight night a hat trick has been recorded against the T-Birds.
For Seattle the story was much the same as it has been. They played well at times, looked like the better team for stretches but came up short in the end.
“I don’t know what it’s gonna take to get everyone going in the same game,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said after. “It’s different guys each night that are killing us.”
Seattle took the lead in the first period when Branden Troock beat Americans goalie Luke Lee-Knight for his fourth of the year. It was part of a first period that saw Seattle get the better of the play for about 18 minutes of the frame. Unfortunately, the other two minutes saw the Americans pick up two goals. The first on a point shot from Zach Yuen and the second as Justin Gutierrez beat Brandon Glover with a back hand.
“I liked our first period,” Konowalchuk said. “We came out with the right game plan, they scored a couple but we were still in the game.”
In the second period the T-Birds got the game tied early as newcomer Andrew Johnson got his own rebound and scored his first goal with Seattle five minutes into the period. Feser then put Tri-City up again as he scored his first goal of the night with just under eight minutes left in the period.
A big turning point in the game came early in the third period when it appeared that the T-Birds had tied the game up again. Taylor Green fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Lee-Knight. As the T-Birds celebrated on the ice the official was waiving the goal off as they claimed Troock had made contact with Lee-Knight, keeping him from making a save. That kind of play is not subject to video review and there was nothing Seattle could do about it.
“I didn’t get a good view from the bench,” Konowalchuk said. “I saw it clearly on the video and our guy didn’t touch him, it’s an absolutely horrible call. I don’t normally say that in public but you can’t make that call.”
So instead of being tied and fighting for the lead the T-Birds found themselves back down by a goal. They were not able to recover and when Feser struck two more times Seattle’s fate was sealed.
“Its not like we’re out of every game,” Konowalchuk said. “It’s two or three weak links that are costing us goals against.”
Seattle’s next game is Friday night in Everett against the Silvertips.
On a positive note Seattle is starting to get some production from Branden Troock who seems to be knocking the rust off of his injury. In his last six games he has two goals and three assists.
Late in the third period Seattle’s Mitch Elliot hit Connor Rankin and was given a five minute major for kneeing. Rankin was hurt on the play and Elliot may end up hearing from the league. He was also given a game misconduct on the play.
The frustration of the players was evident late in the game. Luke Lockhart was given a misconduct late in the game before a face off, for what could only be for something he was saying to the officials.