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.
Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk pinpointed the power play as an area the team must improve upon after Saturday night’s win.
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.
In their shootout loss to Tri-City on Friday, the Thunderbirds finished 0-for-5 on the power play. Against the Giants, Saturday, the team wasted no time getting that fixed, scoring on its first two chances to take a 3-1 lead after the first period.