Kelowna beats Seattle 5-2 to end the T-Birds six-game win streak

Nov 25, 2015, 10:21 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm

By Andy Eide

There was a lot of excitement ahead of the Thunderbirds taking on the defending champion Kelowna Rockets Wednesday night, but the drama failed to unfold.

Seattle saw their six-game win streak snapped at Prospera Place as the Rockets put the T-Birds on their heels in the second period on their way to a 5-2 victory. Kole Lind scored twice for Kelowna and goalie Jackson Whistle stopped 27 shots to make life tough for Seattle shooters.

While the Seattle streak ended, the win gave the Rockets a four-game win streak of their own.

After a first period that Seattle carried much of the play for, things changed in the second when Kelowna took control and the T-Birds had no answers.

“I’m really disappointed with our second period,” head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “They pushed back, which of course they’re going to, and we let them. We didn’t push back at all, we were just accepting it… We definitely didn’t care about the two points as much as we should have, its disappointing.”

Despite Seattle out shooting Kelowna 15-7 in the first period, it was the Rockets who got on the board first. Lind picked up his first on the night when he was left alone in front of Logan Flodell and Cole Linaker fed him with a perfect pass for the tip in.

But that didn’t seem to slow Seattle down. They continued to create and if not for some fine saves by Whistle might have evened the game up. Konowalchuk still felt there was more to give in the first however.

“We had a pretty good first period but we had a few guys that weren’t ready to go,” he said. “Still weren’t at our best and I think that took a little bit of life out of our bench in the second. If you don’t have all your guys that can deflate us and that’s what happened a little bit in the second.”

The second period was all Rockets.

Kelowna took the first nine shots of the period and Logan Flodell had to make a number of point blank saves, some of the desperation variety. The T-Birds did manage to tie the game on a broken play when a Sahvan Khaira shot broke his stick which slowed the puck down enough for Donovan Neuls to pick it up and slide it past Whistle.

The goal didn’t phase the first place Rockets however and they would take the lead back late in the period on a goal by their fourth line. 16 year old rookie Jordan Borstmayer was left alone in front of Flodell and got the puck. The Seattle goalie made one good save but with nobody there to clear the crease, Borsmayer was easily able to put his own rebound back for his first career WHL goal.

Seattle trailed by one after two periods, but it really should have been much worse.

The third period started off much the same as the second period and the Rockets extended the lead just under seven minutes into it when Lind struck again. With the way the game had gone that goal seemed to be the final straw.

The Rockets would add two more markers — off the sticks of Nick Markley and Tomas Soustal — and while Seattle did create some offense late, it wasn’t enough.

Seattle’s top line of Mathew Barzal, Ryan Gropp and Keegan Kolesar were held off of the score sheet entirely and combined to go minus-4 on the evening. Seattle relies on those three most nights and the Rockets were able to not only keep them in check, but shut them out.

“They’re our top line and they’ve got to out work the other team every game to be successful, otherwise you’re not,” Konowalchuk said.

Konowalchuk felt the loss was a team effort and against teams as good as Kelowna the T-Birds will need to find a way to make sure everyone is clicking — something that didn’t happen Wednesday night.

“You need everybody going,” Konowalchuk said. “You’re not going to come in and play a first place team in their building and have passengers, not a chance.”

Seattle is tied for the league lead in road games so far and finally will get a chance to have a few home games in a row this Thanksgiving weekend. They will be back in action on Friday when they host the Vancouver Giants and Saturday when the Moose Jaw Warriors come calling.

“We seem to play with a little more jump at home but we’re not worried too much about where we’re playing,” Konowalchuk said. “We’ve just got to go there and get back to work to get ready for a tough weekend.”

Notes

Flodell got the start Wednesday and made 28 saves on the night as Seattle was out shot 33-29 on the evening. The second period saw the Rockets pour it on with a 17-2 shot advantage.

Barzal and Ethan Bear had their six-game point streaks stopped in the loss.

Scott Eansor picked up a goal on the Neuls goal for his fourth helper in his first three games back from injury.

Nick Holowko scored a cosmetic goal with 30 seconds left in the contest but it was his second goal in as many games.

Seattle has had two six-game winning streaks this year and have failed to get to the seven-game mark. The Everett Silvertips ended their first long win streak with a shut out. Seattle rebounded from that game nicely to beat a good Brandon squad and will hope for similar recovery this time.

Follow Andy Eide on Twitter @andyeide.

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