University of Washington graduate Anthony Dion has covered the Seattle Thunderbirds for 1090 The Fan since the beginning of the 2013 season. You can follow him on twitter @anthonydion03.
As things stand currently, Seattle will face bitter rival Portland in the first round, with the Winterhawks holding home ice thanks to an eight-point edge in the U.S. Division standings.
The Hitmen (37-18-1-4) throttled Seattle, handing it a 3-2 defeat in front of 5,132 at the ShoWare Center Tuesday. The Seattle forwards found little room to operate all night, managing just 20 shots on goal after scoring 14 times in its last three games.
While a passel of elite draft prospects have been a long time coming for Washington, there is potential to see it become a trend rather than a one-year blip on the radar screen.
In 19 games since coming over to the Thunderbirds from Prince Albert, Millette has provided nine goals and 10 assists while filling an important veteran role in Justin Hickman’s absence.
Seattle scored four second-period goals en route to a 7-0 skinning of the first-place Silvertips in front of 5,008 at the ShoWare Center. It was the worst shutout loss for Everett since it was beaten 8-0 by Portland January 12, 2013.
Barzal, 17, has played in 14 games since returning to the Thunderbirds’ lineup January 23 after missing nearly 11 weeks with a fractured knee cap. After a slow start, Barzal has rounded into the form expected of him with four goals and 14 assists.
Mathew Barzal assisted on all four of Seattle’s goals to lead the offense. Millette added a goal and two assists playing alongside the second-year center and Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist for the T-Birds.
Kozun yielded three goals in 15:49 of the first period before being pulled for backup Logan Flodell with Seattle in a 3-0 hole. He was caught out of position on the Royals’ first two goals before being beat by a great pass on the third goal.
A team head coach Steve Konowalchuk described as “pretty loose” in the hours leading up to the 5 p.m. start, was trounced by Victoria (32-21-3-1) over the first 20 minutes en route to a 6-3 loss in front of 4,368 at the ShoWare Center. Not the way Seattle (29-21-3-4) wanted to begin its six-game homestand.
Mathew Barzal tied the game 2-2 with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime with division-leading Everett. After a scoreless overtime, Donovan Neuls and Barzal provided shootout goals to give Seattle an important two points Saturday.