Seattle’s losing streak reaches a dozen
By Andrew Eide
The Seattle Thunderbirds finished their three-game series with the Spokane Chiefs by dropping their 12th straight game, by a score of 4-1. For the T-Birds, the misery continues as they continue to try and find a way to break through and end this streak.
Spokane got the scoring going early in the first period when Mitch Holmberg knocked home a puck that had rebounded off Seattle goalie Danny Mumuagh. Mumuagh, who was making his second WHL start, could not find the puck, Holmberg did and just like the night before Spokane had an early lead.
That goal seemed to wake the T-Birds up a bit as they started winning battles, controlling the play and eventually tied the game when Alex Delnov, on the powerplay, glided into the slot and fired a deadly wrister that beat Spokane goaltender Eric Williams.
Just like the night before, Seattle gave up an early goal only to come back and tie before the period ended.
“I didn’t think the first one was bad,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “We battled back and tied the game to give us a chance to win. It was their second goal that took the wind out of our sails.”
During the first period Seattle got several good chances but could only put the one goal past Williams, something that has been constant through this losing streak.
“When you get two-on-ones, empty nets, you have to put them in,” Konowalchuk said. “It’s our top guys too, they’re good enough to do it and they have to do it.”
The second goal for Spokane came early into the second as Liam Stewart knocked home another loose puck in front of the Seattle net. The T-Birds were unable to recover from that and in the end surrendered two more goals and now have a 12-game losing streak hanging over their head. Konowalchuk has been through everything in the game of hockey, but has he ever experienced something like this?
“Maybe a couple of stretches,” he said. “Maybe my last year in Washington we had a long stretch. It’s frustrating for everyone involved and you have to preach detail, stick to the details. The pros don’t let emotion get into it, we’re a very emotional team right now and we’ve got to fight through it.”
In many ways this streak is head scratching as the T-Birds have played well at times, and on paper seem to have a roster that would not warrant this kind of streak. The WHL trade deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m. and while Konowalchuk doesn’t know if the club will make a move, he’s confident in the roster he has now.
“I know it’s within (the roster),” he says. “We’re getting guys back, we’re missing belief and we have to start believing in who we are and who we have in this locker room.”
Seattle’s next game is Saturday against the Victoria Royals at the ShoWare Center.
After playing Spokane three straight times the teams will not see each other until March.
The T-Birds had been getting themselves in penalty trouble the last couple of games but did a much better job of that Wednesday night as they only allowed three Spokane power plays and killed them all off.
The trade deadline is at 2 p.m. today and if the club makes a move it most likely won’t announce it until that time. Check back to the blog as we will have you covered with the players involved and comments from Russ Farwell.