(1090 The Fan) — Ryan Gropp’s third period power-play goal held up as the game-winner to lead Seattle to its third win over Spokane in six nights, this one a 4-2 victory in front of 3,709 at the ShoWare Center.
Seattle’s sweep of Spokane *18-12-0-2) extended its win streak to six games and vaulted the team into fifth place in the Western Conference standings with 40 points. Danny Mumaugh provided 26 saves and Shea Theodore and Adam Henry each had two assists.
Seattle (18-9-1-3) is on a tear and is playing with a lot of confidence right now, Mumaugh agreed.
“Everyone’s clicking,” said Mumaugh. “We seem to have found a little bit of a groove which I think is important in hockey no matter what position you play, you’ve got to feel comfortable and I think we have found a little bit of a groove.”
Saturday’s contest between the two squads was a choppy affair.
After an Alexander Delnov goal, his sixth in as many games, gave the T-Birds a 1-0 lead through one period of play, Seattle played a rather undisciplined second period. The team was called for five penalties, some perhaps thanks to Spokane embellishment, and spent nearly half the period on the penalty kill.
“The second period was tough tonight, because like you said so many penalties, it was hard to get in a rhythm,” said Henry, the T-Birds’ defenseman. “Lots of guys don’t play special teams, so when you’re sitting on the bench the whole time watching penalty kills, and the momentum of the game shifts back and forth like that, it’s kind of tough.”
With all of that time spent short-handed, Seattle eventually paid the price when WHL-leading scorer Mitch Holmberg scored his 33rd goal of the season to tie the game 1-1, 17:36 in.
In the decisive third period, T-Birds’ defenseman Ethan Bear beat Chiefs’ goaltender Eric Williams top shelf from the right point at 2:10 to give Seattle the early advantage. The Chiefs, though, would answer back with a short-handed goal thanks to Adam Helewka’s effort that saw him out-fight Bear for a loose puck deep in the Seattle zone. Bear was unable to clear and the Chiefs’ Connor Chartier beat Mumaugh at 5:05.
But at the 10:20 mark, Seattle took advantage of its sixth power play when Gropp spun and fired a back-hander past Williams. The goal put the team ahead to stay and Jaimen Yakubowski earned an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining.
Henry, meanwhile, keeps feeding his teammates. With two more assists Saturday, Henry now has 11 assists in the past nine T-Birds’ games.
“I think it has to come from the team’s success. We’ve been playing better defensively as a whole which will lead to a lot more offensive chances for the team and when the team’s scoring, you’re going to benefit from points,” Henry said. “I think that’s what’s been happening (for) me.”
Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk talked afterwards about the challenge of winning three in a row against a tough opponent like Spokane.
“It’s very tough…That’s a good hockey team. To get six points out of six against any team is really good,” Konowalchuk said. “I was very happy with the way the team battled.
“We still want to continue this push.”
Seattle will get a chance to at Tri-City, Tuesday.
1. SEA Alexander Delnov 15 (Theodore, Henry), 11:52
2. SPO Mitch Holmberg 33 (Bobyk, Fram), 17:36 (PP)
3. SEA Ethan Bear 3 (Henry, Troock), 2:10
4. SPO Connor Chartier 6 (Helewka), 5:05 (SH)
5. SEA Ryan Gropp 4 (Theodore), 10:20 (PP)
6. SEA Jaimen Yakubowski 5 (Eansor), 19:29 (EN)
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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