(1090 The Fan) — Mirco Mueller’s third period goal held up as the difference as Seattle fell to Everett 2-1, Friday night at the Comcast Arena. Seattle suffered its second consecutive loss for the first time since early January.
Mueller scored at the 10:45 mark of the final period on a drive from the left wing to give the Silvertips a 2-0 lead which felt more like 4-0 considering the lack of shots Seattle was able to generate on Tips goalie Austin Lotz.
Everett out shot the Thunderbirds 28-18 for the game, but when Seattle pulled its goalie with a little less than two minutes remaining, the team had just 14 shots on net. That output left Thunderbirds’ head coach Steve Konowalchuk giving credit to the Tips’ defense, but also lamenting the play of his forwards in the aftermath.
“We played right in their hands. Give them credit, they played a good hockey game,” said Konowalchuk. ” There’s a certain way you have to play against this team, and that also is to our strength, and we didn’t play that well to a man. We couldn’t create a lot of momentum.”
It was a big win for Everett (29-23-7-1) which is trying to hold onto one of the final playoff spots from the Western Conference of the WHL. After adding two more points to its total Friday, Everett holds a 6-point lead on Tri-City for seventh place, while trailing Vancouver by two for sixth. The victory was also just the first for Everett in the last four tries at home versus Seattle (37-19-2-3).
The T-Birds fell behind their Interstate-5 rival early thanks to a Dawson Leedahl goal 1:41 into the first period. With the early advantage, Everett settled into a strong defensive performance that stifled Seattle all game long from the neutral zone in.
Konowalchuk pointed to the play in the middle of the ice as a deciding factor.
“Neutral zone, neutral zone. We wanted to make the play first and by the time we realize someone is in our face, it’s right back in their hands,” Konowalchuk said.
In fact, Seattle was fortunate to be down just one goal heading into the final 20-minute period. The Silvertips dominated the puck possession for the majority of the first two periods only to see a handful of point blank chances miss the net entirely.
Seattle netminder Taran Kozun did come up with some big saves to keep the T-Birds in the game, but the Silvertips could have put the game away far earlier if they only shot the puck better. Kozun finished with 26 saves while falling to 11-4 with Seattle.
Despite locking up a playoff spot, Seattle is looking to secure home ice in the first round and two straight losses is hurting that bid.
“We still don’t have everybody going right now. When you don’t have one guy going on any of your lines, you’re not going to do anything especially against good hockey teams,” said Konowalchuk. “We’re not where we need to be right now.”
Seattle will look to get back on track at home against Kamloops, Saturday.
1. EVT Dawson Leedahl (6) (Mueller), 1:41
2. EVT Mirco Mueller (4) (Davis, Hayer), 10:45
3. SEA Justin Hickman (20) (Henry, Theodore), 18:57
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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