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.
Seattle (9-10-2-1) returns home for six of its next seven games after a 2-4 road swing through the Eastern Conference. The trip started off well enough with a 6-2 win over Prince Albert, only to end with losses in four of the final five games.
Kozun posted 37 saves and Justin Hickman scored both regulation goals as well as the lone shootout marker to lead the Thunderbirds to an important win as it heads on a 11-day, six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference.
In 67 games with the T-Birds last season, Mckechnie scored seven goals and delivered 11 assists while recording 50 penalty minutes. Through two games to start ’14, the forward posted one assist.
Despite some key losses, The Thunderbirds have routinely been picked to finish in the upper half of the Western Conference, second to Portland in the U.S. Division. Seattle’s B.C. Division rivals Kelowna and Victoria are also expected to return strong squads in 2014-15.
Branden Troock scored twice and goalie Taran Kozun bounced back from allowing six goals, Friday, to secure his first shutout of the series with 24 saves to help Seattle advance to the second round where it will face Kelowna.