Game 37: Thunderbirds are plagued by bad play and bad luck in loss to Americans

Jan 6, 2012, 10:42 PM | Updated: 10:44 pm

By Mike Caccioppoli

(31-7) Tri-City Americans 7, (16-20-0-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 3


KENNEWICK- The Toyota Center is known to be the house of horrors for the Thunderbirds but that label took on new meaning on Friday night as a combination of bad play and bad luck led to the Birds 19th straight loss in Kennewick. Two Seattle goals were waived off while backup goalie Daniel Cotton was peppered with 45 shots.

Jordan Messier (13) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 4:51. Braeden Laroque fell down and nobody was there to take Messier who scored an easy goal.

The Ams went up 2-0 at 10:49 when Adam Hughesman was fed perfectly by Brendan Shinniman who rocketed it past a helpless Cotton.

It looked as though the Birds had scored on the power play when the puck floated behind Eric Comrie and into the back of the net. Referee Brett Montsion waved off the goal well after it went in. It looked as though he was saying that Comrie was pushed into the net but it wasn’t even close. He was in the crease and the puck went through the five hole. There was no video review.

The Birds were down 2-0 after the first period. They were outshot 13-3 despite having two power play opportunities while the Ams had none.

The Birds would get into penalty trouble in the second period and the Ams made them pay. Penalties to Colin Jacobs for Hooking then Kyle Verdino for Boarding would give Tri a five on three and Hughesman scored his second of the night and 25th of the season to put the Ams up 3-0. Mason Wilgosh (7) then scored on the five on four to put Tri up 4-0.

Just over a minute later on the Birds latest defensive zone breakdown Patrick Holland (16) put the Ams up 5-0.

Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk took a timeout and ripped into his team.

Jacobs was awarded a penalty shot when he was hooked on a partial breakaway and he scored his third goal of the season to make it a 5-1 game at 9:21.

Tyler Alos (3) made it 5-2 when he scored on the power play at 17:50. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Dave Sutter.

The Birds trailed 5-2 after 40 minutes. They were also being outshot 31-13.

When you think you’ve seen everything something happens like the turn of events early in the third period. It looked as though Connor Honey had scored his first WHL goal to make it a 5-3 game. However the Ams argued that they had just scored at the other end just before Honey’s goal. Video review showed that Holland had scored his second goal of the game and 17th of the season. The replay showed the puck going into and through the net. Therefore the Ams were up 6-2 because Honey’s goal did not count.

Shinniman scored his 23rd goal of the season to give the Ams a 7-2 lead at 17:57.

Theodore (3) finished off the scoring when he tallied a power play goal with 17 seconds left and the Birds go on to lose 7-3.

Seattle was outshot 45-23.


Plus side:

Cotton stands tall. Well he might not have been standing all night but Daniel Cotton looked solid in only his fourth start of the season. Facing 45 shots, many of them good scoring chances, Cotton turned aside 38 shots while making some spectacular saves. He showed that if Pickard were traded he could handle the heat in net.

Power play life. The Birds score two power play goals for the first time in a long time as they go 2 for 4 against the best PK in the league.


Minus side:

No contest. For the most part the Birds looked like they didn’t belong on the same ice as the Ams. Especially in the first half of the game until Konowalchuk laid into them on regional television. But why did he need to do that to get them to play better?

Defensive zone breakdowns. Way too many guys sleeping in the defensive zone and I’m not just talking about D men. There were times where Cotton was helpless as his teammates seemed to be out on their feet. This led to one scoring chance after another and pucks not cleared out of the crease.

Change of scenery. It’s beginning to look more and more like some guys need and maybe even want a change of scenery. It’s time to give it to them.

Tri and Tri again. This was the Birds 19th straight loss in Kennewick. It hasn’t mattered who has been in net, the Birds simply cannot win a game at the Toyota Center.

Game Notes:

D Dave Sutter was back from the World Juniors. He was wearing Wardley’s number 6 as his jersey was missing in action.

D Evan Wardley was out with an upper body injury.

F Chance Lund was out with a lower body injury.

– The Birds road record drops to 6-12. They are 1-4 against Tri City (1-2 home, 0-2 road).

– Daniel Cotton drops to 0-4. Eric Comrie improves to 13-3.


Thunderbirds second half record: 3-3. three stars:

First star: Adam Hughesman (two goals and an assist)

Second star: Patrick Holland (two goals and two assists)

Third star: Brian Williams (two assists)


The Thunderbirds play Saturday night at the ShoWare Center against the Spokane Chiefs. Game time is 7:05 pm and the action can be heard live at

Game Summary is on the WHL website.


twitter @mike710espn


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