(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Thunderbirds are reeling and there might not be a swift cessation to their fall.
Morgan Klimchuk scored twice for Regina and Connor Gay had three assists as the Pats sent Seattle to its fourth consecutive loss with a 5-3 victory. Regina (11-9-0-0) out-shot Seattle 54-31.
The short-handed Thunderbirds are struggling to get consistent play from both ends of the ice over the past two weeks. They now find themselves in last place in the U.S. Division just days after battling Portland for first.
The loss also left Seattle (11-7-0-2) head coach Steve Konowalchuk sounding frustrated with his team’s performance, Saturday.
“We had about four forwards that I thought had a fairly good game, not a great game by any means, but four forwards and you’re not going to win that way,” Konowalchuk said. “It was a disappointing effort after a frustrating game (Friday).
“We have work to do,” he continued. “The things we corrected all week…we went back to cutting corners and really just not wanting to be strong on the puck, just not digging in and letting them out-battle us.”
In a pivotal third period, with the score tied 2-2, one call gave a decided edge to the visitors. Seattle forward Justin Hickman was called for a boarding penalty and a game misconduct, giving Regina a five-minute major power play despite replays showing he let up on Pats defenseman Tye Hand as he made contact with him behind the Pats net.
It came 3:03 into the period, leaving the T-Birds on the penalty kill for five hellacious minutes. Seattle killed it off to ringing applause from the majority of the 4,014 in attendance at the ShoWare Center, but as is often the case after such a physically draining stretch, the team was left vulnerable and Regina took advantage.
Pats forward Braden Christoffer scored on a shot that trickled past T-Birds goalie Danny Mumaugh, who was strong all game long for Seattle with 49 saves, at the 8:50 mark. Not long after that, Pats leading goal-scorer Boston Leier gave Regina a commanding 4-2 lead with his 13th goal of the season.
Seattle would get a late goal from Adam Henry, allowing it to pull the goalie with two minutes to play and attempt to force overtime, but Regina found the empty net with 23 seconds left to secure the victory.
Seattle got goals from Alexander Delnov and Branden Troock in the first period to take a 2-1 lead. The second period was scoreless until Klimchuk scored on a power play aided by a Jared Hauf holding call, tying the score for Regina with six minutes left.
For coach Konowalchuk, not much other than the effort by Mumaugh was positive.
“He did,” Konowalchuk answered when asked whether he thought Mumaugh stood out. “He was confident, good. I thought maybe we were going to get rewarded there by his good effort but it didn’t happen.”
Still short-handed and looking for consistent effort on both ends of the ice, Seattle will have to get itself fixed in a hurry as the team heads on the road for a showdown with Portland and then two games in Victoria.
1. REG Morgan Klimchuk 11 (Gay), 1:27
2. SEA Alexander Delnov 8 (Eansor, Hauf), 9:47
3. SEA Branden Troock 5 (Barzal), 13:10
4. REG Morgan Klimchuk 12 (Stevenson, Gay), 13:42 (PP)
5. REG Braden Christoffer 1 (McCoy), 8:50
6. REG Boston Leier 13 (Gay, Stevenson), 11:18 (PP)
7. SEA Adam Henry 2 (Troock, Theodore), 17:15 (PP)
8. REG Kyle Burroughs 1, 19:37 (EN)
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)