(1090 The Fan) — Seattle may be finding its ever elusive consistency.
One night after pouring in six goals versus Saskatoon, the Thunderbirds put together a four-goal second period on their way to a 6-3 win over a hot Victoria squad.
Roberts Lipsbergs had two goals and an assist, Branden Troock had a goal and an assist and Alexander Delnov had a goal and an assist to lead Seattle (15-9-1-3).
Facing Victoria, Saturday, nobody thought the Thunderbirds would be able to amass a similar offensive onslaught. The Royals entered 10-2 in November with two of the best goalies in the WHL. They started Patrik Polivka, who on Wednesday was named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week after going 4-0 with a 0.75 goals against average and .977 save percentage.
Delnov picked up right where he left off Friday night, scoring just 2:11 into the first period and Roberts Lipsbergs followed just 38 seconds later to put the T-Birds quickly ahead 2-0. Facing a goalie on a run like Polivka had been on, Seattle made sure not to let him settle in.
“We knew that he was on a little bit of a hot run and we knew coming into the game we had to get in his face… and rattle him a little bit. Those two quick goals, that was good and obviously for him, that was demoralizing,” Seattle center Mathew Barzal said.
After Victoria (18-11-0-1) battled back to tie the score 2-2 with a late first period goal and an early score in the second, Seattle poured it on with a four goal second period, including two on the power play. Each goal came in the final eight minutes of the period, with the final three coming just over a minute apart.
The onslaught started when Shea Theodore — who was honored with his own bobblehead night Saturday — received an outlet pass from Seth Swenson and skated right past the Royals defense before sweeping in from the right side and beating Polivka top shelf to break the tie at 12:41. Barzal then tapped home a ricochet off the post from Lipsbergs’ slapshot for his first goal in the ShoWare Center of his young career and suddenly Seattle could do no wrong.
Branden Troock followed just 19 seconds later with his ninth goal of the season, Victoria went to the penalty box again for a delay of game and Lipsbergs deflected home his second goal of the game to make it 6-2 17:37 into the second period. Troock and Lipsbergs each finished with three points to lead the T-Birds. Danny Mumaugh had 27 saves.
Victoria would add a third period goal from Brandon Fushimi to make the final score 6-3. It was too little, too late against a T-Birds squad that seems to have found some chemistry and put the 6-game slide behind them.
“All of our lines are contributing. We have a really good shutdown line and all three of our other lines are contributing offensively,” said Troock. “We’re going good.”
For the second night in a row, the T-Birds had two power play goals, finishing 2-for-6 against Victoria. They also held the Royals to 0-for-4 on their power play. Seattle now travels to play Spokane (17-9-0-1) Sunday, a team it faces three straight times over the next seven days.
“We’ve got to be careful with (Mitch) Holmberg and (Mike) Aviani, those two are obviously very dangerous out there so we’re going to pay a lot of attention to (them),” Troock said. “But we got to play our game and we want them to play to us, so we’re going to go out there and just play Thunderbird hockey.”
1. SEA Alexander Delnov 13 (Hauf), 2:11
2. SEA Roberts Lipsbergs 16 (Hauf, Barzal), 2:49
3. VIC Mitch Skapski 1 (Fisher, Gagnon), 11:03
4. VIC Logan Fisher 2 (Skapski), 4:45
5. SEA Shea Theodore 12 (Swenson, Mumaugh), 12:41
6. SEA Mathew Barzal 4 (Lipsbergs, Troock), 16:33 (PP)
7. SEA Branden Troock 9 (Gropp, Delnov), 16:52
8. SEA Roberts Lipsbergs 17 (Theodore, Troock), 17:37 (PP)
9. VIC Brandon Fushimi 11 (Blomqvist, Walker), 7:12
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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