Updated Nov 28, 2012 - 10:08 am
Lipsbergs hat trick powers T-Birds past Silvertips
Roberts Lipsbergs had a big three-goal night for the T-Birds. (photo courtesy Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT – The Seattle Thunderbirds shook off a poor performance against Portland Saturday to defeat the Everett Silvertips 5-3 in front of 3,587 fans at the ShoWare Center in Kent. The T-Birds burst out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period before Everett scored three unanswered goals to tie it. Seattle (12-12-1-0) scored twice in the third to seal the victory.
Forward Roberts Lipsbergs was the star as he notched his first WHL hat trick and the first for a T-Birds player since Feb. 27, 2011 when Marcel Noebels scored four times in a 5-1 win against Everett.
"It was a pretty exciting night tonight for number 29," line mate Connor Honey said. "Even our line, I thought we played really good tonight, the team played really well too, other then about five minutes we played a good game."
After getting blasted by Portland in their last game Seattle came out of the gates firing. Lipsbergs scored his first two goals in the first period to help give the T-Birds a 2-0 lead after one period. It was a period that saw Seattle out-shoot Everett (10-17-0-2) 19-3 in a huge reversal from their last game against Portland.
"The first period was a great period for us," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "The guys were ready to play and did a lot of the little things that at the end of the day ended us winning us the game."
Seattle built a three-goal lead four minutes into the second when Jesse Forsberg flipped a puck on Everett goalie Daniel Cotton and it somehow beat him. It was a goal that Cotton surely would want back and was a short-handed goal as a Seattle penalty was just about to end. Up three goals and dominating play it seemed that the T-Birds were going to cruise to an easy win against their rivals.
Everett got back in the game, however, a few minutes later when they struck with a short-handed goal of their own. Reid Petryk forced a turnover at the Everett blue line and started a two-on-one breakaway. He got the puck to Kohl Bauml who beat Glover for the Silvertips' first goal, and their first glimmer of hope. Everett then scored again on the power play and finally with three minutes left in the period tied it up when Josh Winquist skated around the net and beat Glover. Just like that Seattle found themselves tied.
"You know, it wasn't a terrible second period," Konowlachuk said. "We had some casual moments, we gave them a couple of pucks, one on our blue line and in the circle that generated scoring chances. Then we took a couple of casual plays, but it wasn't like the play was being dictated to us."
After the way the team played on Saturday there was an uneasy feeling in the ShoWare Center as the fans watched a three-goal lead disappear.
Showing some resiliency the T-Birds came out with an edge in the third period and were bringing the game to the Silvertips. It only took two minutes for them to strike and get the lead back. Honey had the puck and skated behind the net and found the hot Lipsbergs in the slot. Lipsbergs cashed in on his ninth goal of the year to complete the hat trick. The game was delayed as a dozen hats littered the ice.
"We were just working hard on the forecheck," Honey said. "Just went behind the net, I kind of just did a blind pass. Our chemistry has been getting a lot better lately so you can make those plays. I'm just really excited to play with those Euros."
The line of Honey-Alex Delnov-Lipsbergs continues to be the top line night in and night out for the Thunderbirds. All three players have been hot, but none as hot as Lipsbergs, who now has a six-game point streak that has seen him score seven goals and pick up 11 points. He is now fourth in the league in rookie scoring.
"Our line is good," Lipsbergs said. "We know each other, know where we are going to skate, and I know to find the open ice I'll get a pass from my linemates."
With a one-goal lead in the third the T-Birds got a couple of big saves from Brandon Glover and then iced the game with five minutes left when Justin Hickman beat Glover through the five-hole for Seattle's fifth goal of the night.
Lipsbergs says the hat trick was the first he has scored since the U-18 tournament when he notched one against the German team. When asked if they throw hats on the ice in Latvia he smiled and said, "maybe one hat."
Seattle's next game is against Portland in the Rose Garden. They have had their struggles against the Winterhawks of late. What is Konowalchuk's message about this Friday's game? "It might be just to go have fun," he said with a smile. "It's a hockey game guys, we'll go down there and give them our best shot."
Former T-Birds goalie Daniel Cotton got his first start against his former club and did not get the results he was hoping for. He gave up five goals on 38 shots.
Former Calgary Flames head coach and current owner/coach of the Red Deer Rebels, Brent Sutter, was in attendance at Tuesday's game.
Check out highlights of the 5-3 win:
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