The 20-year-old Kozun had the best season of his junior hockey career by posting a .915 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average in 60 games.
Seattle’s first-round playoff exit precipitated a sudden turn of the page to the 2015-16 season. Evan Wardley is one of a quartet of players moving on in their respective hockey careers, while potentially 11 first-year players return for their sophomore seasons with the Thunderbirds.
Evan Wardley and Shea Theodore, two Thunderbirds playing their final Western Hockey League game, sparked a second-period rally that gave Seattle a chance.
Through the first three games, Seattle did an effective job of staying out of the penalty box and not handing the offensive juggernaut of Portland unnecessary man-advantages. That was not the case in Game 4.
Seattle defenseman Jerret Smith scored twice, including an empty-net goal at 18:34 of the third period, to give the T-Birds a 2-1 series lead.
After dropping Game 1 4-3 Saturday, Portland rebounded with a strong defensive effort in Game 2 behind 21 saves from Adin Hill.
Barzal scored scored the game-winning goal at 17:18 to cap a late third-period rally by the lower-seeded Thunderbirds.
(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle-Portland rivalry is one that spans player tenures, coaches and even sports in addition to its two states and 170 miles along Interstate-5. After 12 more regular-season contests in 2014-15, […]
The biggest award, though, went to overage goaltender Taran Kozun. Kozun, 20, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after a season in which he finished with a 2.41 goals against average.
Eansor capped a four-goal third period for Seattle (35-25-4-5) with the easiest goal of the bunch. His empty-net goal tallied his first career Western Hockey League hat trick in an eventual 7-3 victory over their U.S. division-rival in front of 6,084 at the ShoWare Center.