Updated Nov 18, 2012 - 8:13 am
T-Birds drop tough game to Spokane 3-1
The T-Birds kept coming up short against Spokane Saturday night (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT, Wash - The Seattle Thunderbirds out-shot and out-chanced the Spokane Chiefs Saturday night at the ShoWare Center and yet were not able to out-score them. Seattle threw 35 pucks at Chiefs goalie Eric Williams but could only beat him one time. The Chiefs were powered by three goals from forward Todd Fiddler in the win.
Seattle (10-11-1-0) was able to put up 35 shots on Williams and had four power play chances but still struggled to score. It started in the beginning as Seattle out-shot Spokane (15-7-0-0) in the first period 18-10 and had numerous good chances. The problem, according to Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk was the type of shots they were getting.
"We didn't do a good enough job getting to the net," Konowlachuk said. "We did have chances and could we have deserved a better fate, I think so, but we still didn't do what we had to do and we let the goalie see most of the shots. We were standing off the post instead of in front of him and that's why he was able to have a good game."
The T-Birds were buzzing all night but just couldn't finish. Their close calls started piling up. It was a missed net, a shot off the post, a puck just out of reach in the slot and it was Williams making saves when he had to. In the end it was frustrating for the T-Birds offensive players.
"We had so many chances on the power play," Connor Honey said. "We have to start capitalizing, we're first in the league on the power play and that was unacceptable tonight. We have to learn how to get more pucks deep and I don't think we played that bad tonight. It's just finishing checks and getting more pucks on net. We had 35 shots on net but they were kind of perimeter."
The two teams were scoreless after the first period but it felt like Seattle had been the better team. Spokane got on the board early in the second on Fiddler's first goal of the night. It was an unassisted goal as he picked up a loose puck in the Seattle zone and beat Brandon Glover to get Spokane on the board.
That goal held up for the rest of the second and into the third when Fidder scored again 14 minutes into the period. With a 2-0 lead and a goal tender who was not relenting it felt like that two goal deficit would be enough. Roberts Lipsbergs scored a goal two minutes later for the T-Birds to get them back into it.
Seattle kept pressuring and with the net empty Fiddler dashed any hope they had by flicking a puck from his own blue-line into the vacant Seattle goal.
The Chiefs are a tough team to play against, they like to clog up the ice and limit the quality of shots that you get. Despite that the T-Birds were in this game and kept working. At times this year they have been plagued by periods where they aren't battling as hard as their opponents. It felt like tonight they kept battling but just couldn't cash in.
"Being competitive is also about getting to the front of the net," Konowalchuk said. "That's the part I'm upset with, we can still do better in some areas, the bottom line it wasn't good enough tonight."
There were some positives for Seattle on Saturday night. The line of Roberts Lipsbergs-Alex Delnov-Connor Honey continues to play with good chemistry and generating chances.
"They're generating some stuff," Konowalchuk said. "Again, it wasn't a lack of not generating anything today, it was a lack of finish and you got to go to the net."
Honey has been enjoying his time on that line.
"They're great players," he says. "They see the ice really well, Delnov's a hell of a player along with Lipsbergs, I'm just trying to contribute and hopefully we'll be successful here on out."
The Thunderbirds will hit the ice again on Wednesday night as they host the Kootenay Ice at the ShoWare Center
Game Notes -
At the end of the second period Jesse Forsberg got into a fight with Spokane's Colin Valcourt. When the penalties were settled out Forsberg got an extra ten minute misconduct. It was unclear why he got the extra ten but Konowalchuk says that he got it because his arm came out of his jersey and he kept throwing punches which warrants the misconduct.
Roberts Lipsbergs' goal was his 5th of the season and third in as many games.
Spokane shut down Seattle's league leading power play Saturday night and it should not come as a surprise. Spokane is 5th in the WHL in killing penalties at 83%.
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