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.
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.
Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist to lead Seattle (28-20-3-3) which trailed 1-0 midway through the third period. Goaltender Taran Kozun saved 32 of 33 shots against the second-best offense in the Western Hockey League, a team that entered with 236 goals.
Seattle (23-19-3-3) picked up an important victory over Spokane Sunday to claim sole possession of third place in the U.S. division only to surrender a late lead in Kamloops Wednesday. The team travels to Prince George for a pair of weekend games still searching for consistency.
It was an important weekend of road games for Seattle after it rebounded from consecutive losses with a 2-0 homestand over divisional rivals Tri-City and Spokane to begin the week. Yet, the T-Birds played like two completely different teams.
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.
Taran Kozun’s 2.23 goals against average in 32 starts through January 4 is tops among all qualified Western Hockey League netminders. That reliability between the pipes has kept Seattle (20-16-2-3) in nearly every game, giving it hope for an aggressive playoff push in the second half.
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.
This was a game the T-Birds needed to have, to avoid falling down in the series two games to zero, but the team again struggled to contain the potent Kelowna offense.
The T-Birds will be taking on an Everett squad that enters the playoffs as the hottest team in the league. After an up-and-down season, Everett finished strong when it mattered most, carrying an 11-0-0-2 record over its final 13 games.