Two late third period goals allowed Spokane to inch closer to Seattle with a 6-4 win, Tuesday night. Spokane now sits fifth, just two points behind the Thunderbirds in fourth place and three in front of Everett in sixth.
Seattle dropped its third straight game to Everett in a 5-2 home loss, Saturday. With five games left on its schedule, Seattle is clinging to a 2-point advantage for the fourth seed, and home-ice advantage, in the Western Conference.
It’s the second consecutive loss for the Thunderbirds against Everett in a little over a week, with Seattle (39-20-2-4) managing just two goals against the stingy Everett defense.
Late goals from forwards Justin Hickman and Brendan Troock carried Seattle to a statement-making 4-1 win over Portland, Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Goalie Taran Kozun had 41 saves and Seattle halted one of the greatest regular-season streaks in WHL history.
Kamloops (13-44-2-3) continued its dominance over Seattle thanks to a Matt Bellerive game-winning shootout goal on a shot that just inched past the goal line. The Blazers forced extra time despite being out shot 16-2 in a third period the teams entered tied 2-2.
Mueller scored at the 10:45 mark of the final period on a drive from the left wing to give the Silvertips a 2-0 lead which felt more like 4-0 considering the lack of shots Seattle was able to generate on Tips goalie Austin Lotz. The win was just the first for Everett in the last four tries at home versus Seattle (37-19-2-3).
Ryan Gropp scored two goals, Mathew Barzal remained hot with a goal and two assists and Branden Troock scored his first goal since returning to the T-Birds’ lineup.
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.
Having come from a team in the bottom tier of the WHL Western Conference standings, goaltender Taran Kozun can appreciate the difference between a winner and a loser.
Seattle (32-15-2-3) has now won 10 of its last 11 games. With 20 games remaining, the team has its sight firmly set on winning the U.S. Division and getting home ice for the playoffs.