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.
Delnov scored two second period goals to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead and the team never looked back from that point forward. Playing alongside Delnov on the T-Birds’ third line, Branden Troock (goal) and Ryan Gropp (goal and two assists) also had good games.
Seattle (13-9-1-3) played an aggressive, intense hockey game from the opening face off, an effort it desperately needed after a troubling loss at Vancouver Friday night. Hickman scored two goals, including the tying goal with under four minutes to play. Roberts Lipsbergs extended his goal streak to four consecutive games, and Mathew Barzal chocked up two more assists to give him 22 through 26 games in his rookie season.
It was a hard-fought, close battle all night between two of the top Western Conference squads coming in, Kelowna taking the 50-46 shots-on-goal edge. Kelowna entered with the best winning percentage and riding an 8-game winning streak.
Morgan Klimchuk scored twice for Regina and Connor Gay had three assists as the Pats sent Seattle to its fourth consecutive loss with a 5-3 victory. Regina (11-9-0-0) out-shot Seattle 54-31.
Seattle forward Riley Sheen relishes being an all-around hockey player. Over 12 games now this season, Sheen has eight points (three goals and five assists) while being instrumental as a penalty killer.
With the three consecutive wins, division-leading Seattle stands 3-2 with a game remaining against Kelowna (5-0-0-1) on its six-game road trip. Kelowna currently sits atop the B.C. Divison and trails only the Thunderbirds in the Western Conference with its 11 points.
Roberts Lipsbergs had a hat trick and Alexander Delnov had two goals to pace the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Saturday.