Scoring drought continues for Thunderbirds in loss to Silvertips
KENT – Things were bad for the Thunderbirds right off the bat Saturday night at the accesso ShoWare Center.
Looking to snap a tough four-game losing streak, Seattle gave up the first 18 shots to the visiting Everett Silvertips while allowing three goals to dig a first-period hole that it couldn’t claw out of.
“Those three in the first just killed us,” Seattle captain Nolan Volcan said.
The Thunderbirds managed to calm the game down after the first period but the damage was done as they would lose 5-1 for a fifth straight loss. Everett’s Connor Dewar scored twice while goalie Dustin Wolf turned away 25 Seattle shots for the first place Silvertips.
With their local rival in town and a four-game losing streak, the slow start for Seattle was surprising.
“I felt like we were amped up and ready to play tonight but their speed coming out of the gates took us by surprise,” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said. “Took a couple of adjustments to slow them down.”
Down three goals, Seattle (7-8-2-0) was able to right the ship somewhat and would out shoot the Silvertips for the final 40 minutes of play. In the midst of a tough losing streak, O’Dette saw that as one positive on Saturday.
“Very disappointed obviously, but I think we showed some of our no quit attitude,” the coach said. “That was a positive, the way the guys fought back in the second and third. We have some character in there. We aren’t happy with the way things are going right now but there’s a lot of guys in there who showed their character and laid it all on the line.”
The Thunderbirds avoided the shut out with seven minutes left in the game on a Reece Harsch point shot on the power play. It was the first power-play goal that the Thunderbirds had scored in five games and broke an 0-for-31 skid with the man advantage.
“I thought we got some good looks,” O’Dette said of the power play which was one-for-five on the evening. “I thought our traffic could have been better in front of the net. But we created some opportunities to get pucks there which against their penalty kill, it’s not easy.”
First place Everett (13-6-0-0) got things rolling early when Dewar got his first of the night at 2:57 of the first period when he broke in behind the defense. Less than five minutes later Jalen Price banged home a rebound for his first of the season.
The Silvertips weren’t done scoring however and would add a third goal in the opening period when Wyatt Wylie flung his third of the year from the blue line at 18:19.
Seattle got its first shot of the period with under two minutes when Harsch took a shot from the neutral zone.
“They just came out hard and we weren’t ready for it,” Volcan said of the first period. “You saw it in the shots obviously. The last two periods we played hard…you just have to play like that for a full 60. It’s something that we can’t figure out right now but we’ll get back to the drawing board Monday and come up with a game plan.”
Dewar would score again early in the third period to build a four-goal lead for the Silvertips and the Thunderbirds would finally get on the board when Harsch fired a shot from the point for his second of the year.
Bryce Kindopp would add an empty net tally to wrap up the night’s scoring.
With the loss the Thunderbirds have lost five straight and eight out of nine. The lack of scoring has been the main culprit as the club only has four goals in the last five games.
The task doesn’t get any easier for Seattle as it will have to take on the high-flying Spokane Chiefs this coming Tuesday.
“Guys are staying up and we’re still confident,” Volcan said. “We’re still a confident team and we know what we can do. It’s just bringing it every night and every period so we’ve got to figure it out.”
• The Thunderbirds were playing again without Noah Philp, Payton Mount, and Tyler Carpendale up front and without Jarret Tyszka on the blue line. With two-thirds of his top six out of the lineup, O’Dette is looking for someone to step up. “It’s funny how your depth can kind of disappear real quick when you take three or four forwards out of your lineup, a couple of your top six,” O’Dette said. “It’s tough. We’ve got some young guys filling the last couple of lines and there’s a pretty good learning curve with these guys.”
• Dillon Hamaliuk picked up an assist Saturday to snap a three-game pointless streak. He leads the Thunderbirds with 19 points in 15 games.
• Liam Hughes was in net for the Thunderbirds and played better than the four goals allowed might indicate as he made 36 saves, including several spectacular stops to keep Seattle alive.