KENNEWICK, February 25, 2016 – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 4-2 Friday night at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
The T-Birds improve to 34-22-3-0 and are now five points behind the Everett Silvertips for first place in the US Division. The Silvertips lost 3-2 in overtime Friday to the Kamloops Blazers.
The T-Birds play the Silvertips at 6:05pm Saturday at ShoWare Center. The game has a special start because of Hockey Challenge 2016, which supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington and Alaska. The T-Birds travel to Kamloops to play the Blazers on Sunday at 6pm.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead 1:43 into the game. Jared Hauf passed the puck form the left corner to Andreas Schumacher in the neutral zone. Schumacher passed the puck to Cavin Leth who carried it into the Tri-City zone on the right side. At the top of the right circle Leth took a wrist shot that went through a defenseman’s legs. Tri-City goalie Evan Sarthou got a piece of the shot with his glove, but not all of it, and Leth had his 11th goal of the season.
The T-Birds made it a 2-0 lead on a breakaway goal from Nolan Volcan at 4:14 of the first. An Americans defenseman lost control of the puck on the blue line along the right boards. Volcan got the loose puck and skated down the ice alone against Sarthou. Volcan took a wrist shot from the slot that hit Sarthou’s right pad and went into the net.
Ryan Gropp gave the T-Birds a 3-0 lead at 11:08 of the first on a power-play goal. Jerret Smith passed the puck to Mathew Barzal and he carried the puck into the Tri-City zone on the left side. Barzal skated down the win and just before going behind the net he backhanded the puck into the slot to Gropp. Gropp took a wrist shot that hit Sarthou and went in the net.
Nicholas Sanders replaced Sarthou in the Tri-City net after Gropp’s goal. Sarthou made eight saves on 11 shots. With the loss Sarthou is now 24-25-2-0.
Seattle outshot Tri-City 11-8 in the first period.
Tri-City (29-28-2-1) cut the T-Birds lead to two goals at 7:01 of the second period on a goal from Nolan Yaremko. Parker Wotherspoon had the only assist.
The Americans scored at 16:12 of the second to make it a one-goal lead for the T-Birds. Michael Rasmussen got the puck under Seattle goalie Landon Bow off assists from Morgan Geekie and Brandon Carlo.
Tri-City outshot Seattle 11-9 in the second period. Both teams had 21 shots on goal after two periods.
Mathew Barzal put the T-Birds in front by two goals at 4:45 of the third period. Smith took a shot from the right point that hit an Americans forward. The puck went into the right circle and Nick Holowko spun around and took a shot that went through the slot right to Barzal at the backdoor. Barzal put the puck over Sanders as the goalie sprawled across the crease to try and make the save. The goal was Barzal’s 19th of the season.
The Americans pulled Sanders with 3:21 left in the game. The T-Americans had an over two-minute shift in the T-Birds end. The T-Birds blocked several shots before Bow was able to cover and give the T-Bird a chance to change players. The T-Birds were then able to tie up the puck along the boards as time ran out to win the game.
The Americans outshot the T-Bird 8-6 in the third period and 29-27 in the game.
Bow ended the game with 27 saves on 29 shots and his record is now 17-20-4-0.
Sanders made 15 saves on 16 shots.
T-Birds single game tickets for the 2015-16 season are available online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm Saturday game days at 10 am and Sunday game days at noon.
First period – 1, Seattle, Leth 11 (Schumacher, Hauf), 1:43. 2, Seattle, Volcan 12, 4:14. 3, Seattle, Gropp 29 (Barzal, Smith), 11:08 (pp). Penalties – Rayman, Tri (cross checking), 6:50. Wotherspoon, Tri (tripping), 9:56. Schuldhaus, Sea (interference), 12:02. Eansor, Sea (slashing), 16:50. Volcan, Sea (10-minute misconduct), 16:50.
Second period – 4, Tri-City, Yaremko 4 (Wotherspoon), 7:01. 5, Tri-City, Rasmussen 13 (Geekie, Carlo), 16:12. Penalties – Neuls, Sea (roughing), 8:17. Carlo, Tri (roughing), 8:17. Volcan, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:17. Sarthou, Tri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:17. Gropp, Sea (holding), 13:22.
Third period – 6, Seattle, Barzal 19 (Holowko, Smith), 4:45.Penalties – Stewart, Tri (checking from behind), 6:55. Bowles, Tri (roughing), 14:07. Ottenbreit, Sea (roughing), 14:07.
Shots on goal – Seattle 12-9-6 27, Tri-City 10-11-8 29. Goalies – Seattle, Bow 29 shots-27 saves (17-20-4-0); Tri-City, Sarthou 11-8 (24-25-2-0), Sanders 16-15. Power plays – Seattle 1-3; Tri-City 0-3. A – 4,568. Referees – Ryan Benbow, Adam Griffiths. Linesmen – Michael Bean, Ron Dietterle.