(1090 The Fan) — Roberts Lipsbergs’ overtime power-play goal lifted Seattle to a 4-3 victory over Everett in front of 6,149 at the ShoWare Center.
One night after struggling on its power play, Seattle (30-15-2-3) rebounded in a big way, Saturday with all four of its goals coming with the man advantage. Shea Theodore was a major part of that all night. The defenseman finished with a goal and three assists for the T-Birds.
“That was the difference for us. It has been a sore subject for us a lot of the season. We capitalized today, it was huge,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said of his team’s power-play effort. “It was a hard fought game…It’s a fun division that keeps you on your toes.”
Seattle and Everett (25-16-7-1) began a stretch in which the two teams will face off against one another seven times over the next six weeks. The two squads were separated by just six points in the U.S. division standings (Seattle in second with 63 points and Everett in fourth with 57 points) and Everett held the early 2-1 advantage in the season series.
After a scoreless first period, the two teams opened a mini scoring barrage in the second period as a result of effective power-play offense.
Seattle started the scoring first, getting an early goal from Theodore on the team’s first power play of the game, coming just 0:24 seconds into the period. The Thunderbirds found themselves with a man advantage again when Sam McKechnie was high-sticked on a breakaway. This time Seattle forward Justin Hickman scored after deflecting a Ryan Gropp shot past Tips goalie Daniel Cotton.
The T-Birds’ 2-0 lead didn’t last long, however. Within minutes of Hickman’s goal, the T-Birds found themselves on the penalty kill and unable to hold off Everett.
Josh Winquist scored his 30th goal of the season at 9:54, followed by Jujhar Khaira, who beat Taran Kozun at 12:29 to tie the game 2-2.
The pivotal third period opened a lot tighter than the loose play of the second. Neither team wanted to be the first to hit the penalty box considering the way each was performing on its power play.
With 11:36 gone, Everett’s Manraj Hayer made it three unanswered goals and a 3-2 Tips advantage when he beat Kozun top shelf.
Seattle got one more chance, though, thanks to a Winquist hooking penalty. Shortly after, Gropp connected to tie the score 3-3 at 14:19. Then after the team killed off a late Everett power play, the Silvertips committed another penalty, this one a hooking call on Dawson Leedahl that gave Seattle a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:46 in overtime.
That proved enough.
Asked about the difference in the power play performance over the last two nights, Theodore couldn’t peg any single aspect.
“I don’t know, I mean we were struggling as of late. We really had to put it together to get some points on the board,” Theodore said. “We had lots of time in that overtime period, we were just really patient.”
It was a tough loss for Everett, which has now dropped 16 of its past 21 games (including overtime and shootout losses) after beginning the season a WHL-best 20-4-4-0.
On the other hand, Seattle won’t be able to celebrate this one too long as it turns around to host league-leading Kelowna, Sunday.
“Another big game…they usually are against Kelowna,” Konowalchuk said.
1. SEA Shea Theodore (15), 0:24 (PP)
2. SEA Justin Hickman (14) (Gropp, Theodore), 7:56 (PP)
3. EVT Josh Winquist (30) (Mueller, Hayer), 9:54 (PP)
4. EVT Jujhar Khaira (14) (Leedahl, Cochrane), 12:29
5. EVT Manraj Hayer (13) (Winquist, Bajkov), 11:36
6. SEA Ryan Gropp (12) (Hickman, Theodore), 14:19 (PP)
7. SEA Roberts Lipsbergs (29) (Theodore, Bear), 1:48 (PP)
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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