Just as thoughts of a disastrous first-half conclusion began forming, Seattle (14-15-2-2) answered with two late goals from Donovan Neuls and Ryan Gropp to earn a 5-4 victory in front of 5,099 at the ShoWare Center.
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.
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.
Yet, despite holding a 80.8 penalty-kill percentage, good for 10th in the Western Hockey League through 25 games, Seattle has allowed four goals in 11 power-play chances over its last two games. An uncommon lapse for a team normally sound.
Wardley, 20, missed the previous five games after being suspended by the Western Hockey League for a checking from behind penalty against Saskatoon on November 8. It was Wardley’s second suspension of the 2014-15 season.
Barzal, the T-Birds leading scorer, had a goal and an assist, Pederson had two goals and Scott Eansor two assists to lead Seattle’s scoring in its win over the reigning Memorial Cup Champions. Pederson’s goals were the rookie’s first of his Western Hockey League career.
The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded forward Jaimen Yakubowski to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a third round pick in the 2016 Bantam Draft.
The T-Birds start the 2014-15 Western Hockey League regular season on the road against the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, September 19, at 7pm at the Moda Center.
Defenseman Shea Theodore was named to the first-team All-Star squad in the Western Conference, it was announced Thursday. Theodore led the T-Birds — and all WHL defensemen — with 79 points, including 22 goals.
The Seattle Thunderbirds emerged from a difficult stretch in which it faced four playoff teams in five nights only to face a weekend of meaningful games with just a two point lead for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage.