(1090 The Fan) — Despite holding a 3-1 advantage well into the third period, just Shea Theodore stood between a fourth consecutive loss for Seattle.
Of course, Theodore would have none of it.
Theodore’s shootout goal forced sudden death and from there his teammates Roberts Lipsbergs (winning goal) and Danny Mumaugh (two big stops) combined to give the Thunderbirds a 4-3 win that they sorely needed.
“It was a big win,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk admitted. “Nice to get that second point. The guys deserved it.
“It’s a big point,” Konowalchuk added. “That extra point is a big point coming down to the wire here…This should create some positive momentum.”
Theodore finished with three assists, Mumaugh had 32 saves in his first start in eight games and Alexander Delnov tallied his 28th goal of the season to lead Seattle (40-22-2-4).
It was a game the Thunderbirds absolutely had to have after a 3-game losing skid left their grip on the No. 4 seed tenuous. Entering the third period, the streak-snapping victory looked like a near certainty, but a 3-1 lead was quickly, and suddenly erased by the Giants, who tallied two goals five seconds apart to force overtime.
Vancouver (31-27-7-4) came into Sunday’s contest with little to play for. Unlike the T-Birds, the Giants know their fate. Locked into the No. 7 seed, the Giants know a date with Portland in the opening round is on the horizon.
Regardless, the Giants came out and took advantage of an early power play to take a 1-0 lead on a goal by Arvin Atwal at 3:45. The reeling T-Birds who needed the two points to put some distance between them and Spokane, got it together as the period came to a close.
Mathew Barzal tipped a Theodore slap shot past Vancouver goalie Payton Lee to tie the game at 16:10. Seattle, then, built a 3-1 lead with a strong second period.
The first goal came midway through when Theodore used a nifty deke to create some space between him and a few Giants defenders, then to find Alexander Delnov in the slot. Delnov spun and fired a back-hander on net that Lee never saw.
As the period came to a close, forward Sam McKechnie set up defenseman Jerret Smith for a 2-goal advantage at 16:26.
It looked like the third period would just be a matter of procedure until Vancouver’s Mason Geertsen scored a power-play goal at 10:01. On the ensuing face off, Cain Fransen found a lane and drove a shot past a helpless Mumaugh a mere five seconds later to tie the score and leave 3,584 at the ShoWare Center in stunned silence.
But Mumaugh and his team recovered. They didn’t let the momentum swing rattle them and instead found a way to get the game to overtime, and eventually, a shootout.
After Fransen scored as the first shooter for Vancouver, two misses by Seattle left Theodore as the team’s last hope to not only secure an important second point, but to instill some confidence into the squad just one week before the playoffs.
For Theodore, having the game ride on his stick is a moment he relishes.
“A little bit,” Theodore admitted. “It’s the first time I’ve shot the third shooter in awhile…Steve put some confidence in me and I just got it done. I liked it.”
“It’s definitely huge,” he added of the win. “We only got four more games left on the year and we got Spokane on Tuesday and we wanted to get a little bit of confidence in our game going into that, so tonight is definitely a big win.”
1. VAN Arvin Atwal (6) (Franson), 3:45 (PP)
2. SEA Mathew Barzal (13) (Theodore, Henry), 16:10 (PP)
3. SEA Alexander Delnov (28) (Theodore, McKechnie), 6:52
4. SEA Jerret Smith (3) (Eansor, Theodore), 16:26
5. VAN Mason Geertsen (4) (Hamilton, Sward), 10:01 (PP)
6. VAN Cain Fransen (30), 10:06
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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