The problem with the T-Birds lately, as coach Konowalchuk sees it, is the consistency to a man through all four lines. He’s seeing too many turnovers, soft plays and just overall “casual moments.”
Kamloops (13-44-2-3) continued its dominance over Seattle thanks to a Matt Bellerive game-winning shootout goal on a shot that just inched past the goal line. The Blazers forced extra time despite being out shot 16-2 in a third period the teams entered tied 2-2.
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. The win was just the first for Everett in the last four tries at home versus Seattle (37-19-2-3).
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.
At 37-17-2-3 entering Sunday’s tilt with Prince George, Seattle resides in fourth place in the Western Conference with 79 points. The team trails Kelowna (96 points), Portland (89 points) and Victoria (84 points) in the conference standings while holding an 8-point lead on Spokane.
Shea Theodore had three assists and Mathew Barzal provided two to lead the Thunderbirds’ scorers on a night the team won their eighth consecutive home game and earned their first season series win over Tri-City since the 2004-05 campaign.
Since January 25th when Seattle upended Everett 4-3, each player has produced four goals and five assists. Their great play has also been a boon for their linemate, forward Justin Hickman, who scored five goals in a two game stretch prior to Friday.
Ryan Gropp scored two goals, Mathew Barzal remained hot with a goal and two assists and Branden Troock scored his first goal since returning to the T-Birds’ lineup.
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.
Having come from a team in the bottom tier of the WHL Western Conference standings, goaltender Taran Kozun can appreciate the difference between a winner and a loser.