Barzal and Gropp, each playing in the midst of their rookie campaigns for Seattle, are clearly two of the brightest young players Seattle has, and both are playing at a high level currently for head coach Steve Konowalchuk.
One night after struggling on its power play, Seattle (30-15-2-3) rebounded in a big way, Saturday with all four of its goals coming with the man advantage. Shea Theodore was a major part of that all night. The defenseman finished with a goal and three assists for the T-Birds.
Seattle (28-14-2-3) won its sixth straight game behind another excellent game between the pipes for newly acquired goalie Taran Kozun.
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.
Barzal, 16, has scored six goals and delivered 25 assists in 32 games for fifth place Seattle (21-10-1-3). His 25 assists trail only defenseman Shea Theodore (27) for the team lead and his 31 points are fourth most amongst T-Birds skaters.
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.
Spencer, 17, made his debut with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Friday night as the team edged Portland 3-2. It was the forward’s first game since signing November 29th out of Minnesota.
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.
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.