TBirds outlast Vancouver 6-4

Oct 12, 2012, 10:05 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2012, 9:17 am

By Andrew Eide

Before this season began Seattle Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk talked a lot about how much he liked the depth he felt his team had going into the season. That depth has shown up big time the past few games, both wins, for the team. Saturday night in Vancouver was no different as the T-Birds built an early lead and then held on to beat the Giants 6-4.

Seattle got off to a strong start to the game and were in the middle of a great road period when defenseman Jarret Smith noticed Vancouver making a sloppy line change and made a nice pass to Seth Swenson. With the Giants out of position Swenson found himself on a two on one break with Roberts Lipsbergs. Swenson waited and then took the wrist shot which beat Giants goalie Tyler Fuhr. It was Swenson’s third of the season and Seattle was off and running.

The Giants did not roll over however. They pushed back after Swenson’s goal and had several great shifts in a row where they controlled the puck, had the T-Birds pinned in their own end and got several good scoring chances. As he has on several occasions goalie Brandon Glover came to the rescue. He made several fine saves during that stretch including one spectacular save where he was sprawled out and robbed Vancouver’s Cain Franson twice with his leg pads.

“You know, he’s been playing real well for us,” Konowalchuk said afterwards. “He gives us a chance to win and has come up with some timely saves.”

After withstanding the Giants onslaught the T-Birds struck again before the period would end. With two minutes left Lipsbergs and Brendan Rouse burst into the Giants zone. Lipsbergs got the puck to Rouse who had his first shot stopped but he did not miss on the rebound and Seattle scored their second goal.

Up by two goals Seattle scored another goal with two seconds left in the period. The goal was set up by rookie Michal Holub who was hit, fell to the ice but was still able to pass the puck over to Tyler Alos who beat Fuhr with a nice back hand, top-shelf shot. When the horn blasted Seattle was up 3-0 despite being out-shot 15-8.

Seattle scored again early in the third as Riley Sheen picked off a bad Vancouver clearing past and ripped a shot on net. The puck hit Fuhr and landed in the crease where Holub came crashing in to knock the puck in. It was Holub’s first WHL goal and gave Seattle a seemingly safe 4-0 lead.

Since getting a chance to play last week Holub has played really well.

“He’s skating really well,” Konowalchuk said of his rookie. “He’s forechecking well, is showing some offensive instincts, has a strong shot. He still needs to work on his play away from the puck but he’s developed a lot from where he was a month ago.”

Down four goals the Giants made a little bit of a come back as they scored two quick goals, one by Marek Tvrdon and another by Cain Franson. The two quick goals got them back in the game and gave them some momentum and all of a sudden the Seattle lead did not feel that safe.

About half way through the period Luke Lockhart made a pretty pass to Alex Delnov who was streaking in on the Vancouver goal. He got tripped before he could take the shot but did draw the penalty and Seattle’s lead leading power play went to work.

On the man advantage Jesse Forsberg fired a shot from the point that was stopped Fuhr but Rouse was on the door step to take the puck, make a backhand-forehand move and put it in the net for his second of the game. The goal gave Seattle a three goal lead and seemed to deflate the comeback.

Six minutes later the Thunderbirds scored again on the power play, on a pretty play as Rouse made a nice backhanded cross-crease pass to Lockhart who buried it. Seattle was up 6-2 and never really looked back.

The T-Birds have scored 11 goals in their last two games and are getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. The depth that Konowalchuk has wanted to have is paying off and making it harder to defend Seattle.

“It’s great,” he said. “They were matching up their top defenseman (Musil) against the Lockhart line, which makes it tough for them. Then you have to have other people step up and that’s what happened tonight. We’re starting to build confidence, especially offensively, starting to get chances, moving the puck well and it’s good to score goals, it makes everyone feel good.”

With the win Seattle improves to 4-3-0-0 while the Giants saw their record fall to 2-6-0-0. Seattle next plays on Tuesday as they host the Spokane Chiefs at ShoWare Center.

Game Notes –

Seattle came into the game with the league’s top power play, despite not drawing very many chances. They went two for six with the extra skater on Friday and have drawn 13 power plays over their past two games. That shows how well the team is playing offensively of late.

Branden Troock missed last night’s game as he is still out with the flu. He was joined by Mitch Elliot, who was a scratch, and was not feeling well.

With Troock out, Holub has been given a chance to play. He’s played well and Konowalchuk feels that Holub is making it hard to leave him out of the lineup. Don’t be surprised if he is still in when Troock and Elliot are back.

The T-Birds have 13 guys who have scored a goal for them so far, eight of them have scored more than once, which shows that they are getting scoring from a number of players this year. That depth will be huge all year.

The WHL’s official box score is showing that Rouse had three goals last night. Don’t believe it. They are crediting him with the last goal, which was scored by Luke Lockhart. Rouse made a nice pass on the play but it is not his goal and surely that will be corrected.

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
TBirds outlast Vancouver 6-4