(1090 The Fan) — With the way Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp have been playing lately, Justin Hickman appears ready to reap the benefits.
He certainly did Tuesday night. The 19-year-old forward scored two of the easier goals he’s had all season as Seattle defeated Everett 5-3 in front of 4,642 at the ShoWare Center.
Both goals for Hickman came as a result of brilliant feeds from Barzal, Hickman’s new linemate along with Gropp. Combined, the trio delivered eight of Seattle’s 13 total points.
Barzal and Gropp, each playing in the midst of their rookie campaigns for Seattle, are clearly two of the brightest young players Seattle has, and both are playing at a high level currently for head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
Despite the 2-goal advantage in the final score, the game was a tight one for the better part of the initial 50 minutes, with Everett holding a 2-1 lead midway through the first period.
The first 20 minutes were a back and forth affair with each team netting two goals. Seattle got on the board first after Barzal forced a Silvertips turnover deep in their zone, corralled the puck and delivered a lateral pass to Hickman across the face of Everett (26-20-7-1) goalie Daniel Cotton. Hickman then deposited the shot top shelf before Cotton could slide over and block it at 3:50.
The Tips responded rather quickly when Ivan Nikolishin flipped a wrister past Seattle goalie Danny Mumaugh at 5:30. Mumaugh got the start as Seattle rested Taran Kozun and provided 34 saves to help carry the T-Birds to their 11th victory in 13 games.
Everett’s Brayden Low made it 2-1 Tips when he cleaned up a rebound left in the crease that a scrambling Seattle defense couldn’t clear. Barzal’s ninth goal of the season re-tied the game and capped the scoring for the period at 14:18.
The leading scorers for either side then got involved in the second period. Roberts Lipsbergs gave the T-Birds a brief 3-2 lead at 1:55 with his 31st goal of the season. It was brief, because Everett’s Josh Winquist answered at 5:56 on the power play with his 34th of the year.
From there, though, it was all Seattle. The T-Birds killed off multiple power plays in the early going of the third period, then saw Alexander Delnov score his 21st goal of the season at 9:31 to put the team ahead for good. He was followed by Hickman, who added his second goal of the game at 14:55.
It was the third head-to-head matchup between Everett and Seattle (33-16-2-3) in the past 10 days with Seattle winning all three. The Thunderbirds are now 4-2 against the Silvertips this season.
1. SEA Justin Hickman (14) (Barzal), 3:50
2. EVT Ivan Nikolishin (14) (Fonteyne), 5:30
3. EVT Brayden Low (4) (MacDonald, Mueller), 11:30
4. SEA Mathew Barzal (9) (Hickman, Gropp), 14:18
5. SEA Roberts Lipsbergs (31) (Troock, Maxwell), 1:55
6. EVT Josh Winquist (34) (Pufahl, Leedahl), 5:56 (PP)
7. SEA Alexander Delnov (21) (Troock), 9:31
8. SEA Justin Hickman (15) (Barzal, Gropp), 14:55
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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