Game 64: Thunderbirds stay in playoff hunt with victory over Vancouver
(24-31-4-5) Seattle Thunderbirds 4, (33-25-1-4)Vancouver Giants 2
Gallimore with two goals and two assists…Dillon has two assists
KENT– Playing with an intensity that has been spurred on by desperation to make the playoffs the Thunderbirds, behind Burke Gallimore, defeat the Giants 4-2.
In doing so they gain two points and are within five points of a playoff spot.
The Giants went on the power play at 2:31 of the first period. Mitch Elliot was called for Interference. They would score when Neil Manning (12) shot one past Calvin Pickard (24-29-3-5) at 3:01.
Brendan Rouse (11) tied the game 1-1 when he broke down ice, through two defenders and chipped one past Mark Segal (25-14-1-3). Assists went to Gallimore and Erik Bonsor. Time of the goal was 9:11.
The Birds went on their first power play at 15:38. Spencer Bennett was called for Interference. Ryan Button (5) connected to put the Birds up 2-1 at 16:22. Assists went to Brenden Dillon and Gallimore.
Vancouver got a power play opportunity when Chance Lund was called for Interference at 17:40. They did not convert and had one shot on net.
After 20 minutes the Birds led 2-1. Shots were 13-11 in favor of Vancouver.
The Birds went on the power play at 1:07 when Darren Bestland went to the box for Delay of Game. Gallimore scored his 29th goal of the season to put the Birds up 3-1. The assists went to Marcel Noebels and Dillon. Time of the goal was 1:30.
The Giants went on the power play at 5:38 when a double minor was assessed to Tyler Alos so it would be a four minute power play. Elliot and David Musil each got five minutes for Fighting. The Birds killed off the four minutes.
The Birds would go on the power play at 12:01 when Brendan Gallagher was called for Slashing. They did not convert.
The second period would end with the Birds up 3-1. Shots were 13-6 in favor of the Giants. They led 26-17 overall.
The Birds went to the power play at 4:15 of the third period when Bestland was called for Interference. They didn’t convert and had two shots.
Gallimore went to the penalty box for Slashing at 9:17. Manning scored his second goal of the night and 13th of the season to get the Giants to within one goal at 3-2. Time of the goal was 10:11.
The Giants went back to the power play at 11:03 when Elliot was called for Delay of Game. They didn’t convert and had no shots.
With 1:20 left Vancouver pulled Segal in favor of the extra attacker.
The Birds went on the power play when Segal was called for Delay of Game at 19:08 after he was put back in net. Segal was then pulled again. Gallimore (30) put the puck into the empty net to give the Birds a 4-2 lead. It was his second goal of the night.
That’s the way it would end with the Birds getting a very big win over the Giants.
Shots in the third period were 7-7. The Giants out shot the Birds 33-24 overall.
Rob Sumner summed this one up pretty well. “Great effort, certainly not mistake free but great effort.”
The Birds power play has been resurgent as of late and they added three power play goals tonight. “We’ve tried a couple of different things, said Sumner.”We’re shooting the puck. Our movement is creating shot lanes. Possession is critical, if you get the penalty killers running around and get them a bit tired, their assignments become tougher.”
Even though the Birds gave up two power play goals Sumner said the biggest kill came early in the second period. “I thought the real critical point was that four minute kill.”
Gallimore has also been resurgent, scoring two goals and picking up four points in the game. “I think that can be said for a lot of guys, said Sumner. “Rouse has really stepped his game up recently. He got his game going and he hasn’t had any dips.” Rouse was also tough on the penalty kill and Sumner recognized his efforts especially on one particular clearing attempt.”He fought his way through it, it looked like he was going to get stuck, then he got to the next part, got stuck, got to the next part and really battled.”
Seattle has now won four of their last five home games but Sumner knows it’s not about where you play but how you are playing. “Confidence leads to (better play). We’re trying to win games now. If it’s at home it’s at home, if it’s on the road, it’s on the road. We want to put our best out there and if we do that we have a chance to win and that builds confidence.” He was asked if he thinks the team is playing with the same kind of intensity they showed over the first couple of months of the season. “I think so. We’ve got desperation right now and we need it. We’re in a position where we have to fight. I’m happy with the compete level.”
Pickard made 31 saves on 33 shots with the only two goals coming on the power play. “He’s a big part of any success we have, said Sumner. “He’s picked it up and so has the team around him.”
The Birds are now just five points out of a playoff spot but there is a very tough game up ahead in Portland. Sumner was asked about the keys to winning the game. “Keys are to play high intensity. Limit the breakdowns and turnovers. They have skill. We also need to limit those outnumbered opportunities or short handed situations.”
That game will take place Friday night at 7 pm. It can be heard live at MyNorthwest.com.
– Congratulations to Brenden Dillon who signed with the Dallas Stars of the NHL before today’s game. Dillon has come a long way and his effort this season has not gone unnoticed. Good for him!
– F Justin Hickman (hand) did not play.
– The Thunderbirds home record improves to 11-16-1-3.
– Seattle ends the season with a 2-2 record against the Giants.
– Seattle was 3 for 5 on the power play. Vancouver was 2 for 6.
Game Summary: (courtesy of the WHL website)
1st Period-1, Vancouver, Manning 12 (Gallagher, Henry), 3:01 (PP). 2, Seattle, Rouse 11 (Gallimore, Bonsor), 9:11. 3, Seattle, Button 5 (Dillon, Gallimore), 16:22 (PP). Penalties-Elliot Sea (interference), 2:31; Bennett Van (interference), 15:38; Lund Sea (interference), 17:40.
2nd Period-4, Seattle, Gallimore 29 (Noebels, Dillon), 1:30 (PP). Penalties-Bestland Van (delay of game), 1:07; Musil Van (major-fighting), 5:38; Alos Sea (high sticking, high sticking), 5:38; Elliot Sea (major-fighting), 5:38; Gallagher Van (slashing), 12:01.
3rd Period-5, Vancouver, Manning 13 (Henry, Stastny), 10:11 (PP). 6, Seattle, Gallimore 30 (Toomey), 19:57 (PP EN). Penalties-Bestland Van (interference), 4:15; Gallimore Sea (slashing), 9:17; Elliot Sea (delay of game), 11:03; Segal Van (delay of game), 19:08.
Shots on Goal-Vancouver 13-13-7-33. Seattle 11-6-7-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Vancouver 2 / 6; Seattle 3 / 5.
Goalies-Vancouver, Segal 25-14-1-3 (23 shots-20 saves). Seattle, Pickard 24-29-3-5 (33 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Steve Papp (36), Sean Raphael (28).
Linesmen-Zach Brooks (26), Chris Carlson (92).