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.
Theodore now has five points in two games since joining the T-Birds Thursday, tying him with Thomas Hickey for second place on the Thunderbirds all-time defensive scoring list with 177 points.
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.
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.
Friday’s victory came on the heels of a dominant 4-1 win over Spokane Sunday when the team opened a 2-0 lead. Suddenly, Seattle (12-12-2-2) has won three of its last four after losing five of six.
Theodore, 19, has played in seven games since returning last month. He’s expected back in the lineup this weekend after missing the past two games with the flu. His return brings scoring stability and leadership in an inexperienced Thunderbirds squad in need.
Khaira, 16, has played in 21 games through the first two months of his debut WHL season. Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk has seen the 6-foot-3, 213-pound defender from Surrey, B.C. progress in his first season above the Bantam level.
Riding an emotional 3-2 win over the Silvertips, Seattle (10-12-2-2) opened a four-game homestand with a flat performance against the Ice. Since the departure of Barzal due to a lower-body injury, Seattle is 3-7. Comparatively, its opponent Saturday is 8-2 since the return of star center Sam Reinhart.
In an even first period where shots on goal were 12 apiece, consecutive tripping penalties called on the T-Birds with under six minutes to play led to a 5-on-3 power play for the Chiefs who quickly capitalized.