Late goals from forwards Justin Hickman and Brendan Troock carried Seattle to a statement-making 4-1 win over Portland, Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Goalie Taran Kozun had 41 saves and Seattle halted one of the greatest regular-season streaks in WHL history.
In the end, Alexander Delnov scored the game-winner in overtime to lift Seattle past Prince Albert 4-3. Mathew Barzal scored two goals, Roberts Lipsbergs added his first goal in nine games, and Shea Theodore contributed two assists to lead the T-Birds.
Roberts Lipsbergs and Alexander Delnov, playing on the same line for the majority of Saturday’s game with the team still shorthanded, combined to deliver seven points, including the late equalizer and overtime game-winner as Seattle stunned Spokane with a 4-3 overtime victory, Saturday.
After being outscored 22-3, the T-Birds went into Prince George and came away with consecutive wins Tuesday and Wednesday to end a 5-game losing streak and at least salvage part of the trip.
Seattle (22-10-1-3) goaltender Justin Myles provided 36 saves including some critical ones late as Everett attempted a furious late rally with a 2-man empty-net power play with 45 seconds left. The win was Seattle’s 10th in its last 11 contests, and evened the season series with Everett (22-11-4-0) at one win apiece even as the team was outshot 38 to 21.
Seattle (21-10-1-3) got off to a fast start thanks to Delnov. The 19-year-old Russian scored after he corralled a loose puck in the slot at 5:06 in the first period. He then assisted on Ryan Gropp’s goal which gave the T-Birds a 2-0 lead with just over seven minutes to play in the period.
Seattle’s sweep of Spokane extended its win streak to six games and vaulted the team into fifth place in the Western Conference standings with 40 points. Danny Mumaugh provided 26 saves and Shea Theodore and Adam Henry each had two assists.
Winners of four in a row, including key games against U.S. Division rivals Portland and Spokane, the T-Birds have put a rough start to the month of November behind them, and enter December looking like a much better squad. With key contributors up and down the lineup, Seattle seems to have found the consistency it had been searching for.
Delnov picked up right where he left off Friday night, scoring just 2:11 into the first period and Roberts Lipsbergs followed just 38 seconds later to put the T-Birds quickly ahead 2-0. Facing a goalie on a run like Polivka had been on, Seattle made sure not to let him settle in.
Gropp, 17, signed on October 15th after being selected sixth overall in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. After his three point game Friday night, Gropp has three goals and three assists in 14 appearances in his rookie season. The rookie from Kamloops, British Columbia said he’s finally starting to feel comfortable in the WHL.