When the season began, Lipsbergs was a part of a large contingent of players vying for the three overage spots on the T-Birds’ roster. Ultimately, Lipsbergs was forced to leave. Hickman’s injury opened up the opportunity to return, one that he jumped at.
Shortly after surrendering three goals and the lead in the second period, the T-Birds responded by out-shooting Spokane 14-3 in the third period to force overtime.
The 19-year-old forward was acquired from Prince Albert Thursday by the T-Birds in exchange for a conditional sixth-round selection in either the 2015 or 2016 Bantam Draft.
Despite being without 40 percent of its scoring at one point, Seattle went 5-1 in the first six games out of the holiday break to climb into the sixth position in the Western Conference standings.
Keegan Kolesar scored two goals and added an assist to lead Seattle (17-15-2-2) to just its second win in five games against division-leading Everett (21-11-3-1). Ethan Bear had a late goal to go with two assists, and reserve goaltender Danny Mumaugh had 28 saves in his sixth start.
Down their top two centers in Mathew Barzal (lower body) and Alexander True, the latter competing in the 2014 World Junior Challenge for Team Denmark, the Thunderbirds moved captain Justin Hickman to the center position on their top line.
Just as thoughts of a disastrous first-half conclusion began forming, Seattle (14-15-2-2) answered with two late goals from Donovan Neuls and Ryan Gropp to earn a 5-4 victory in front of 5,099 at the ShoWare Center.
For Seattle (13-15-2-2), the loss was its first to Portland this season and third in the last four games. The team played a much more energetic, focused and disciplined game after Friday’s 4-0 shutout loss to Tri-City.
After his poor rookie campaign, there was almost zero buzz surrounding the forward from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two short months have changed that. The word is out, and it would be more surprising now if Kolesar weren’t a high-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Despite a late push from Keegan Kolesar, the Eastern Conference squad held on for a 5-3 road victory over Seattle. Zach Fischer provided a goal and an assist to lead Medicine Hat, while points leader Trevor Cox notched his 33rd assist, second-best in the Western Hockey League.