Thunderbirds shut out Everett 3-0 behind Glover’s 27 saves
By Andrew Eide
KENT, WA – After playing preseason games throughout the state of Washington the Seattle Thunderbirds finally got to play a game in front of their fans at the ShoWare Center Friday night. The Everett Silvertips were in town and Seattle fans went home happy as the T-Birds shut out Everett 3-0 . Seattle and Everett will wrap up the preseason tonight, at 7:05, at the Comcast Arena in Everett.
The star of the game Friday night was new number one goalie Brandon Glover. Glover was brought in from Calgary this summer to replace one of the most successful goalies in Seattle’s history, Calvin Pickard. The 20-year old Glover showed the fans in Seattle that the goal tending duties are still in very capable hands. Glover made 27 saves on route to picking up the shut out and appears ready for the regular season to begin.
Seattle came out on fire in the first period and never looked back. They had the first eight shots on goal, tilted the ice and got the scoring going six minutes into the game. Defenseman Taylor Green took a pass at the point and fired a wrist shot through a screen and between the legs of Everett goalie Austin Lotz. It was Green’s first goal of the preseason and was set up by Seth Swenson and Justin Hickman.
Swenson continued his good preseason later in the first when he scooped up a loose puck, blew past Everett’s Landon Oslanski and beat Lotz with a pretty back-handed top shelf shot.
“I was going back on the back check and I got a stick on it and it just popped out, I saw a chance to go and the next thing you know I was on a break away. I thought the goalie would come at me a little bit but he sat back and let me think about it, ” a smiling Swenson said about his goal.
Swenson came on strong after arriving in Seattle last year and this goal was his third goal in four games heading into the season. The Thunderbirds are excited for the potentially great year he may be about to put in. He’s a big, strong player who will be parked in front of the net on the power play and will score some of those much needed ‘dirty’ goals.
“That’s my game right there, I don’t go for the pretty stuff,” Swenson said.
Seattle put the game away later in the first period, on the power play, when Brendan Rouse knocked home a rebound for his second of the preseason. That goal punctuated a dominating first period that saw Seattle out-shoot Everett 12-4.
“It was good, we were ready to play and it was probably our best first period, that’s where the game was won,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “We came out hard and worked and got a 3-0 lead and played well.”
With the lead built, Glover took over for Seattle and secured the win.
Everett came out and gave Seattle a push back in the second period but Glover made several timely saves. While he didn’t see much action in the first period he got plenty in the second, including one sequence where he showed some scrappiness. Nine minutes into the second Everett’s Stathis Soumelidis crashed the Seattle net and knocked Glover down. Glover did not appreciate it and pounced on Soumelidis which sparked a bit of a scrum. Glover was given a two-minute roughing penalty for the altercation and on the ensuing penalty kill made a save off his mask. It was quite a productive two minute stretch for the new Seattle goalie who certainly won over some fans Friday night.
When you shut out your opponent you get good performances turned in by your defense and Friday was no exception. Evan Wardley’s game really stood out as he played a calm and stiff game while dishing out three or four devastating hits. “He’s come a long way from where he was this time last year, there’s still things we’ve got to work on but he’s a hard guy to play against, he’s playing really smart hockey, he bangs guys around and if he keeps going and keeps working like he’s worked he’ll be in for a good year,” Konowalchuk said of his young defenseman.
Seattle was 1 out of 4 on the power play but looked really strong and dangerous on all their opportunities. Branden Troock and Rouse took turns manning one of the points with the man advantage with Rouse cashing in with a goal. Konowalchuk plans on using a forward on the power play during the season to get the best offensive guys out there.
Import draftee Alex Delnov made his home-ice debut and had a strong game. He played on a line with Troock and Luke Lockhart and seems to have no problems with the North American style of play.
Daniel Cotton was suited up as the back up to Glover Friday but did not play. Konowalchuk said the club had not made a decision yet on which of the three guys vying for the back up spot were going to see action Saturday night in Everett.
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