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.
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.
Brandon Fushimi and Brandon Magee had two goals apiece and Tyler Soy added three points for Victoria (11-9-0-1) which continued its recent dominance over the Thunderbirds in front of 4,070 Friday night at the ShoWare Center.
Yakubowski, 19, is a left wing who scored one goal in 11 games with the Hurricanes. Mckechnie, also 19, is a right wing with one goal and two assists through nine games. The two arrived just after 4 p.m. Saturday and skated prior to the 7 p.m. start time.
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.
Seattle forward Justin Hickman is set to return Saturday, as the T-Birds travel to Portland to face the WHL champion Winterhawks, already 0-2 to start the season.
Seattle goalie Danny Mumaugh stopped 31 shots to get the shutout and his first win of the year.
Justin Feser had a hat trick Sunday night to lead his Tri-City Americans to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Toyota Center.