THUNDERBIRDS

Americans end Thunderbirds four-game win streak

Oct 19, 2018, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm
Seattle defenseman Owen Williams fights for position in front of the Thunderbirds net Friday night ...
Seattle defenseman Owen Williams fights for position in front of the Thunderbirds net Friday night against the Tri-City Americans (Doug Love/Americans)
(Doug Love/Americans)

The Seattle Thunderbirds red hot power play had a chance Friday night in Kennewick to play hero one more time.

With the score tied at two, the Tri-City Americans took a penalty with just over seven minutes left in the game. Unfortunately for Seattle, this time the Thunderbirds weren’t able to get set up with the man advantage and couldn’t find the big goal that they had been getting during their four-game win streak.

To make matters worse, as soon as the power play ended, Tri-City’s Parker AuCoin got behind the Seattle defense and would score with just over five minutes left to put the Americans up 3-2. That would prove to be the game-winner as AuCoin would add an empty net tally to give Tri-City a 4-2 home win over the Thunderbirds.

“We got a D trapped when he should be getting out of the zone and having some awareness there that the penalty is expiring,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “It was a breakdown at a key moment of the game.”

The power play for Seattle (6-2-1-0) came into the game on an 11-for-23 run but would be shut out on four chances Friday. The Thunderbirds struggled to get set up in the zone and spent most of their power-play time retrieving the puck from their own end.

“It was just poor puck decisions,” O’Dette said. “I think we were forcing some things we didn’t need to force. It didn’t lead to enough puck possession and opportunity to put pucks on their net. We didn’t have that same decisions making and weren’t making the right plays.”

After giving up two early goals, Tri-City (5-4-0-0) would get solid goaltending from Beck Warm who ended the night kicking out 24 Seattle shots to pick up his fourth win of the year.

For the second straight game the Thunderbirds had to deal with the loss of a top-six forward during the game. Tuesday night they lost Dillon Hamaliuk in the first period and Friday would lose Payton Mount in the second.

Mount took a big hit late in the middle frame and would not return to the game.

After, O’Dette said that Mount was still being evaluated and couldn’t say when he will be healthy enough to get back in the lineup.

Jake Lee would get Seattle going at 3:12 of the first after picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone. He glided into the Americans zone and let loose a wrister that beat Warm, bar down, to make it 1-0.

Mount would set up the second goal for the Thunderbirds 1:16 later. He got the puck in the high slot and fed a perfect pass to Noah Philp at the goal mouth to make it 2-0. It was Philp’s team-leading seventh marker of the season.

Down two scores, the Americans would push back with some help from Seattle miscues in puck management.

First it would be a back door conversion for Connor Bouchard at 9:29, just as a Tri-City power play had ended. Then, at the 14:00 minute mark, a Seattle turnover led to two-on-one that was finished off by Kyle Olson, who would score his third of the year.

“Kind of the same idea as the previous game,” O’Dette said. “We got off to a good start and then got away from the things that got us off to the good start and we let them back into the game. We don’t want to be drawn into their type of game where it’s up and down the ice and we let them do that.”

The two clubs settled down after a four-goal first period and there was no scoring until AuCoin’s goal late in the third.

Cole Schwebius got the net for the Thunderbirds and held his own, making 22 saves in his second career WHL start.

The two teams will play a third straight game Saturday night as the Americans return to the accesso ShoWare Center for a 6:00 pm face off.

Notes

• Seattle got some good minutes from guys like Tyler Carpendale, Cody Savey and Keegan Craik on Friday. With the injuries, O’Dette may need them to play more minutes on Saturday. “We saw some good things from those guys when they got their opportunity,” he said. “We’ll have to make some adjustments with the lines and guys will have to step up and take advantage of their opportunity.”

• O’Dette did not have an update as to Hamaliuk’s availability for Saturday either. Hamaliuk was injured in the first period Tuesday on a hit from Tri-City’s Riley Bruce. There was no penalty called on the play but Seattle sent the video to the league and Bruce was suspended four games for an elbow to the head.

• Schwebius was not only making his second career start but also his second road start. Liam Hughes had made the previous four starts and it is assumed he will return to the net Saturday.

• All seven of Philp’s goals have come during the last four games that Seattle has played.

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