(1090 The Fan) – Roberts Lipsbergs’ sudden-death shootout goal and the monumental saves late from starting goalie Justin Myles, helped Seattle edge Tri-City 5-4 in a shootout, preventing a disappointing loss Friday night at the ShoWare Center.
With 0:27 left in the third period, a Seattle delay of game penalty aided Beau McCue as he forced overtime for Tri-City (1-2-0-1). Despite several good looks for each squad in the 4-on-4 overtime period, the shootout was needed. Lipsbergs scored, beating Americans goalie Eric Comrie to the right post, after the previous four shooters for each team came up empty.
The win allowed Seattle to improve to 3-0 as it prepares for an ornery 0-2 Portland squad looking for payback. It also helped the T-Birds overcome a slow start and a disappointing third period finish.
“I thought we didn’t start out well in this game. First period we weren’t ready, they were ready and usually when you’re not ready (to play), you don’t end up getting two points,” Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk said after the game. “We got a little bit scrambly at the end, made a couple mistakes but found a way to get the win.”
It was a busy first period as the two teams exchanged leads. The T-Birds Branden Troock opened the scoring at 8:22 for his third goal of the year, but the Americans answered with goals from Brian Williams on a breakaway and Connor Rankin at 14:58 on a power-play to take the 2-1 lead. The T-Birds, then, were able to tie the score 2-2 less than a minute later on a Connor Honey power-play goal, courtesy of a penalty from Americans’ defenseman Parker Wotherspoon (two minutes for checking to the head).
Alexander Delnov gave the T-Birds a 3-2 lead in the second period thanks to a generous rebound from Comrie. That lead was also short lived as moments later a T-Birds turnover in the neutral zone awarded Brian Williams his second goal of the game, tying the score 3-3 midway through the contest.
With just over three minutes left in the second period, Seth Swenson scored on a 4-on-4 situation after rookie Mathew Barzal’s attempt kicked wide of the net and Comrie was late to defend. The goal gave Seattle a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish until the Eansor penalty gave Tri-City a two-man advantage with mere seconds remaining.
“Eansor had a good game, he probably feels worse than anyone,” Konowalchuk said referring to the delay of game penalty late. “He had the right idea…the execution wasn’t there. “
Tri-City, meanwhile, entered Friday’s game off a dominant 6-2 victory at Portland hoping to build off its recent success over Seattle which includes winning 30 of the past 38 games against its in-state rival. It received another terrific game from Williams, its leading points man through the young season.
Williams added two goals and two assists to give him eight points over four games to start the year. Comrie had 32 saves for the Americans.
But it was Myles who made the biggest plays late, lifting Seattle to the win. Myles finished with 32 saves on 36 shots for the T-Birds, not to mention five denials in the shootout and a spectacular right pad save on an overtime breakaway opportunity for McCue.
Konowalchuk was high on his netminder afterwards: “(Myles) played a heck of a game. He was huge in the first period. He made a save late in the 4-on-4 (in overtime)…He’s a good goalie, we believe in him.”
The teams finished dead even with 36 shots-on-goal despite a 17-11 first period advantage for the Americans. Tri-City was held to 2-for-5 on its power play, while Seattle went 1-for-2.
“It’s a nice start, that’s what we wanted to do. (Saturday) is going to be tough,” added Konowalchuk. “Portland is sitting there waiting for us and has had a week to prepare. After two losses you know you are going to get their A-plus game. We’ve got to get a little bit better after tonight, that’s for sure.”
1. SEA Troock 3 (Honey, Delnov) 8:22
2. TC Williams 4 (Hamonic) 13:51
3. TC Rankin 2 (Gutierrez, Williams) 14:58 (PP)
4. SEA Honey 2 (Troock, Theodore) 15:50 (PP)
5. SEA Delnov 3 (Hauf, Smith) 8:29
6. TC Williams 5 (Rankin) 12:09
7. SEA Swenson 2 (Barzal) 17:07
8. TC McCue (Williams, Messier) 19:33 (PP)
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