Updated Dec 12, 2012 - 6:33 am
T-Birds play flat, lose 6-2 to Royals
By Andrew Eide
KENT - In the course of a long hockey season there will be games that you wish to forget. Seattle's 6-2 loss to the Victoria Royals Tuesday night was one of those games. The T-Birds came out playing with very little spark or energy and were soundly beaten. Victoria was paced by Alex Gogolev who scored two goals and added an assist.
"We were not good right from the start," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "We didn't have our heads in it, we didn't have our feet moving. Give them (Victoria) credit, they out-jumped us and out competed us in every aspect of the game."
It didn't take long to realize that Seattle (16-15-1-0) was not playing with the same juice that had been during their recent four game win streak. Gogolev got Victoria (17-13-1-0) on the board first, six minutes into the game and before Seattle could relax Victoria added a second goal as Austin Carroll found the net.
Down 2-0 half way through the first period Seattle still could not generate any sustained pressure until late in the period when Roberts Lipsbergs flung home a rebound on the power play to give Seattle some life. The game started to get chippy at the end of the first period as a scrum broke out with two seconds left. The hope was that perhaps the goal and the fight would spark the T-Birds.
The second period was a carbon copy of the first period with Victoria owning the puck and dictating the play. They out-shot Seattle 17-8 in the second period and picked up two more goals. Seattle did have their chances with several power play opportunities but could not cash in. Meanwhile the Royals picked up three power play goals.
"Special teams are one of those battles that you look forward to," Luke Lockhart said. "You have to win those battles and they out scored us on their power play and in the end that's what cost us."
The T-Birds had a glimmer of hope in the third period when Connor Sanvido scored a nice goal from behind the red line with ten minutes left to cut the deficit to two goals. The T-Birds followed that up with a too many men on the ice penalty that seemingly killed any momentum. From there the game broke down into a constant stream of gloves on the ice and players headed to the penalty box.
"It was a frustrating game," Konowalchuk said. "There were just a lot of little things and there are some guys in there that have to get committed to playing the right way again and not just worrying about points."
Victoria scored two more goals in the third, including Gogolev's second of the night to put any doubt of a comeback to bed. All in all it was a very frustrating night for the home team.
"It's disappointing," Lockhart said. "We knew they were going to come out hard for a big game. We came out a little soft and we paid for it in the end."
The T-Birds have now lost two straight coming off their recent four game win streak and have a tough weekend schedule ahead of them. They travel to Spokane on Friday night and then head to Portland for a Saturday tilt. Both teams are among two of the best in the WHL so Seattle will have to shake this one off.
"I hope they are pissed off at themselves," Konowalchuk said of his team. "Because they didn't compete."
The game got ugly in the third period and was chippy all night. In the end the two teams combined for 120 penalty minutes.
Lipsbergs got back on track after having his point streak stopped by Portland last weekend with his first period goal. He now has 16 on the season which leads the team and WHL rookies.
The loss to Victoria was somewhat of a big one. The two teams started the night tied for the sixth seed in the Western Conference and with the win the Royals now take a two point edge in that race.
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