(1090 The Fan) — Now that it has a playoff spot locked up, Seattle learned a valuable lesson, Sunday: never ease off the throttle.
The Thunderbirds did that in front of 5,014 at the ShoWare Center after running out to a 3-0 lead in less than seven minutes. Instead of continuing to play “for the team” in coach Steve Konowalchuk’s words, Seattle (37-18-2-3) played selfishly and let a desperate Prince George team storm back with six unanswered goals to steal a 6-4 victory.
While the Thunderbirds have locked their postseason spot up, Prince George (25-29-3-5) is fighting for its playoff life. Sunday’s win left the Cougars just two points back of Tri-City for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
“That team there, they are fighting for their playoff lives and we just took them too lightly, didn’t play our game and they got the two points and we didn’t,” summed up Thunderbirds’ forward Justin Hickman.
Seattle jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period as it stormed Prince George’s starting goalie Adam Beukeboom. Jaimen Yakubowski opened the scoring at 5:12 and teammate Alexander Delnov followed with a tally at 6:04.
Cougars’ head coach Mark Holick pulled Beukeboom after he gave up his third goal — a lob shot from T-Birds’ forward Calvin Spencer from just below the red line — at 6:48. Beukeboom surrendered three goals in under seven minutes of play on nine shots.
The move halted Seattle’s momentum and sparked an epic Cougars’ rally which saw the team tally six unanswered goals over the next 30 minutes. Ty Edmonds stepped in net and was brilliant for 53 minutes, stopping 39 of 40 shots.
Zach Pochiro and Troy Bourke provided three points apiece while forward Todd Fiddler extended his point streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist to propel the Cougars’ comeback effort.
Seattle pulled starter Danny Mumaugh after he surrendered his fourth goal — a Jansen Harkins drive 5:48 into the second period. It did little to kill the Cougars’ momentum, as they abruptly scored two goals on Taran Kozun in nine minutes.
“We have to clean up how we’re playing (over) sixty minutes,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “Are we playing for the team for sixty minutes or are we playing for ourselves?
“It’s gotta get corrected for the long term if we want to be successful.”
Seattle got a late goal from Yakubowski, his second of the game, 7:45 into the third period but couldn’t get anything else going against Edmonds.
The defeat will sting, but there is a lesson to be learned that will hopefully help the T-Birds come late March.
“We’ve got to make sure we learn something out of this,” stated Konowalchuk.
“You can’t let up and you gotta play for the team.”
1. SEA Jaimen Yakubowski (8) (McKechnie, Maxwell), 5:12
2. SEA Alexander Delnov (24) (Gropp, Troock), 6:04
3. SEA Calvin Spencer (3) (Henry), 6:48
4. PG Troy Bourke (25) (Fiddler, Ruopp), 8:53
5. PG Todd Fiddler (39) (Harkins), 19:34
6. PG Zach Pochiro (25), 4:56
7. PG Jansen Harkins (9) (Wilson, Tomchuk), 5:48
8. PG Klarc Wilson (24) (Bourke, Pochiro), 7:45 (PP)
9. PG Zach Pochiro (26) (Bourke), 14:07
10. SEA Jaimen Yakubowski (9) (McKechnie, Henry), 7:45
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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