(1090 The Fan) — Sam McKechnie’s late second period goal held up after a scoreless third period to give Seattle a 3-2 victory over Everett Friday as both teams returned from their holiday break in front of 7,278 at the Comcast Arena.
Seattle (22-10-1-3) goaltender Justin Myles provided 36 saves including some critical ones late as Everett attempted a furious late rally with a 2-man empty-net power play with 45 seconds left. The win was Seattle’s 10th in its last 11 contests, and evened the season series with Everett (22-11-4-0) at one win apiece even as the team was outshot 38 to 21.
“I thought in the first period we came out with the energy and passion we needed and that probably ended up carrying us for the win,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said.
Each team was without key players, Friday. The Thunderbirds played sans star rookie Mathew Barzal, still sidelined with an upper-body injury, while Everett is missing leading goal-scorer Joshua Winquist as well as a few defensemen playing in international tournaments.
The absence of those players did little to change the competitiveness between the two squads who were each coming off their best first half in at least seven years. Seattle’s 21-win total was its best to start the first half of a season since 2004.
Coach Konowalchuk was pleased with his team’s performance after the 9-day hiatus.
“I liked their determination mentally to want to come out and continue the way they were going,” Konowalchuk said. “Sometimes out of the break you can lose your edge a little bit and it might take a little bit to get the competitiveness going, but I thought they were pretty competitive out there, so that was good to see.”
The Thunderbirds got out to a fast start with a two goal first period that began with a short-handed goal by Justin Hickman at exactly five minutes in. Hickman intercepted a Silvertips pass near the Seattle blue line and streaked down the ice to beat Tips goalie Austin Lotz. Lotz finished with 18 saves on 21 shots.
Carson Stadnyk then scored his 12th goal of the season for the Silvertips at 9:57 to even the score, but Shea Theodore put the T-Birds back ahead 14:16 into the period.
Everett tried to mount a comeback in the second period. Forward Jujhar Khaira made it a tie game 7:56 in and Seattle wasn’t able to get much going as evidenced by the four shots on goal the team posted for the entire 20 minutes.
However, despite that paltry total, McKechnie, took advantage of a Everett turnover with a little help from teammate Seth Swenson, as he beat Lotz with 33 seconds remaining to score the eventual game-winner.
The two teams get right back at it Saturday for the second of a back-to-back home and away series at the ShoWare Center.
1. SEA Justin Hickman (12), 5:00 (SH)
2. EVT Carson Stadnyk (12) (Leedahl, Zipp), 9:57
3. SEA Shea Theodore (14) (Delnov), 14:16
4. EVT Jujhar Khaira (8) (MacDonald), 7:56 (PP)
5. SEA Sam McKechnie (4) (Swenson), 19:27
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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