T-Birds allow 4 goals in third period, fall to Spokane 5-4
The Seattle Thunderbirds were defeated 5-4 by the Spokane Chiefs at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.
Seattle (26-18-3-0) appeared to be in control of the game early after taking a 2-0 lead early in the second. The T-Birds kicked off the scoring following an impressive solo effort by Mathew Barzal early in the first period. Barzal intercepted a pass by Chiefs goaltender Tyson Verhelst and sent the puck into an open net to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.
Barzal’s goal served as the only tally during a first period in which Seattle outshot Spokane 11-8.
The game’s second stanza started off even better than the first as Scott Eansor potted a shorthanded goal just 33 seconds into the period. The goal, Eansor’s sixth of the season, came off of another Chiefs turnover when Jared Hauf stole the puck and sprung Eansor on a breakaway. The Engelwood, Col. native beat Verhelst to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.
Spokane (23-19-3-2) regained some momentum late in the second when Markson Bechtold got the Chiefs on the board with just under three minutes remaining.
After two periods, Seattle still held a 2-1 lead and were outshooting Spokane 18-12.
The third period was a different story as it appeared Bechtold’s goal energized the Spokane bench. The Chiefs scored two goals just 46 seconds apart off the sticks of Dylan Hamaliuk and Nik Anderson. Hamaliuk’s goal at 1:41 knotted the contest at two, while Anderson’s tally at 2:27 gave Spokane a one-goal lead.
The busy start to the third period continued as Seattle’s Keegan Kolesar added an unassisted goal of his own to tie the game at three. Kolesar grabbed a loose puck off a faceoff in the Spokane zone, skated into the slot, and beat Verhelst for his 24th goal of the season.
However, Seattle’s momentum would be short-lived as Spokane once again scored twice in less than a minute to give them a two-goal lead. Dominic Zwerger and Presten Kopeck were the scorers, beating Bow 54 seconds apart to give the Chiefs a 5-3 lead.
Ryan Gropp would add one more goal for Seattle to make it 5-4, which would end up being the final score. With Bow pulled, Gropp one-timed a Kolesar pass into the back of the Spokane net, but it would prove to be too little too late as Seattle was unable to fully recover from a lackluster third period that saw them surrender four goals.
The T-Birds face another U.S. Division rival, the Everett Silvertips, on Saturday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett. The Silvertips, who are coming off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Tri-City Americans Friday night, outclassed Seattle in the two teams’ last matchup on January 16, crushing Seattle 5-1. Everett leads the season series, having picked up wins in three contests and losing in overtime in a fourth. Seattle, who has now lost two in a row, will look to get back on track against a frustrating Everett team that has allowed two goals or fewer in five of their last six contests.
Follow Tim Pigulski on Twitter at @tpigulski