Seattle powers past Everett 5-2 for first home win
Connor Honey celebrates his second period game tying goal (photo Kyle Scholzen, Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
Kent, WA – The Seattle Thunderbirds scored four power play goals on their way to securing their first home win 5-2 against their rivals, the Everett Silvertips. Seattle broke open a 2-2 tie in the third period and never looked back to improve their season record to 3-3-0-0. With the loss Everett drops to 1-4-0-1.
Seattle was coming off a tough 7-2 loss in Kamloops the night before in a game that was a lot closer than the final score. Saturday night was only the second home game on the season for Seattle and they desperately wanted to take care of business. In front of a good crowd of 4,223 Seattle started strong only to see Everett take an early lead.
The Thunderbirds were getting good chances in the first but were not able to beat Everett goalie Austin Lotz. Justin Hickman took an elbowing penalty 5:18 into the first and Everett scored on the resulting power play. It was a pretty play as Mirco Mueller snapped a pass to Manraj Hayer who got the puck to Tyler Sandhu who had a wide open net and his first of the year for Everett.
Seattle kept pushing back however and Everett found themselves on a seemingly endless march to the penalty box. The T-Birds power play was creating chances but could not get the puck past Lotz. 13:55 into the period Ryan Harrison got called for boarding when he took Connor Honey down hard. The Silvertips were already short-handed and the penalty gave Seattle 1:27 of a two-man advantage. On the ensuing power play there was a mad scramble in front of the Everett net and one of the Silvertips defenders closed his hand on the puck which meant that for the second straight game Seattle was awarded a penalty shot.
Alexander Delnov got the honor in this game and was denied by Lotz, just as Honey was last night. The first ended with Seattle out-shooting Everett 17-8 but down a goal.
“Sometimes that can get frustrating,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “When you get those power plays, you don’t know if you’re going to keep getting them. We did have some chances but we just didn’t put them in.”
If Seattle was frustrated they didn’t show it. They came out strong in the second and drew a quick power play again when Landon Oslanski got called for clipping. This time Seattle cashed in as Shea Theodore glided into the zone with the puck and fired a high wrist shot over Lotz’s shoulder. It was Theodore’s second goal of the season and got the T-Birds all square at two.
Six minutes later Everett went back on the power play and Oslanski made up for his penalty as he fired a shot from the point that hit the post and bounced into the goal. That goal gave Everett a bit of a jump and they enjoyed a few minutes of good play but were unable to get any more pucks past Brandon Glover who made some stellar saves.
At 14:29 Seattle went back on the power play and tied it up when Jesse Forsberg made a nice pass to Connor Honey who fired a one-timer past Lotz. It was Honey’s third goal in two nights and he seems to have shaken off the rust his from his preseason injury.
“I was nervous, I’m not going to lie to you,” Honey said about his start. “I was really stiff out there, but now coach gave me a great opportunity and I took advantage of it and I feel good out there.”
Late in the second period there was a scrum in front of the Everett net and afterward Lotz got up slowly and called for the Everett trainer. He stayed in net for the rest of the period but when the teams came out to start the third back up Cole Holowenko was in goal for the Silvertips. He got tested four minutes in when Seattle, on yet another power play, gave him a rude welcome by scoring the go ahead goal. This one started with Theodore again as he fed Delnov who beat a screened Holowenko and Seattle was ahead for good.
Seattle extended the lead thirty seconds later when Luke Lockhart scored his second of the season and the rout was on. The star of the game was Theodore however. The star defenseman has been on fire the past few games and to prove it scored his second of the game at 15:25 when he fired a power play goal from the point.
“I guess I’m back into it,” Theodore said of his play. “I’m feeling really good so that’s really working for me. We were working on it (the power play) last night in Kamloops, we tweaked a few things and it worked for us.”
Seattle ended the night going 4 for 8 with the man advantage and the eight power plays was a season high for the club as they had been struggling to draw penalties.
“That’s something we haven’t been happy with,” Konowalchuk said. “You have to do the right things to draw power plays, we skated today and put the puck in the right areas and that’s how you get power plays.”
The Thunderbirds had suffered, at times this season, from mental lapses that cost them games. They avoided that on Saturday night, something that Konowalchuk was happy to see.
“It was probably the closest to a sixty minute game we’ve played,” he said after. “We faced adversity a couple of times, they got the first goal, they got the power play goal to pull ahead, but we kept playing, we kept skating.”
Seattle’s next game is this coming Friday as they head to Vancouver to take on the Giants.
Honey’s goal gave him three in two nights. For the second game in a row he was fed the puck by Jesse Forsberg. Is this going to become a habit? “It’s nice to have a player like that, with the vision like that, I just love playing with him and hopefully there’s more to come,” Honey said about the combination.
Seattle has won two of their last three now and it’s no coincidence that in those three games Shea Theodore has been terrific. He has six points in those three games and has sparked the T-Birds offense. He played Saturday a night after taking a hard shot to the foot in Kamloops. “It was really sore, I really felt it in the beginning but I took some Advil and we’re good,” Theodore said afterwards.
Brandon Troock did not play again tonight as he is still suffering from the flu.
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