Updated Dec 19, 2012 - 6:58 am
T-Birds Stymied by Tri-City Americans
Seattle could not generate enough offense against the Americans (Photo courtesy Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT, - The Seattle Thunderbirds dropped their fifth straight game by losing to the Tri-City Americans 4-1 on Tuesday night. The Americans were led by the 29 saves of goalie Eric Comrie and by two goals from Beau McCue.
Seattle (16-17-1-1) was missing some key players and struggled to get pucks past Comrie. Seattle fell behind early as McCue beat Brandon Glover from close range after the Seattle goalie couldn't play the puck behind his net. Seattle tied it later in the first on a Justin Hickman power play goal but could not generate any more offense in the game.
"We had a few chances tonight," Brendan Rouse said. "Comrie stood on his head and kind of deflated us and we kind of let down there at the end."
The T-Birds were missing forwards Roberts Lipsbergs and Alex Delnov for Tuesdays games and were forced to juggle their lines. They played well at times during the game but were not able to get consistent traffic in front of Comrie, who is one of the best goaltenders in the WHL.
"We did generate some chances," Steve Konowlachuk said. "We didn't get the traffic we like. I didn't think it was a terrible hockey game, at times we did some good things. We didn't finish our chances and at the end of the game they capitalized on their chances. I didn't think it was the kind of game that reflected the 4-1 score, that's for sure."
Seattle's best period was the first, where they out shot the Americans 14-7 and had some very good shifts that generated chances. Despite that they left the period tied at one goal a piece.
Tri-City (20-12-1-2) took the lead a few minutes into the second after a Seattle defenseman slipped at the blue line which created a two-on-one chance. After Glover made an initial save there was nobody to stop Ryan Chynoweth from potting the rebound. Up 2-1 Comrie took over in a game that featured very few penalties and moved quickly. With Comrie on top of his game it seemed like Seattle pressed too much to try to beat him.
"It happened with a few of us," Rouse said. "Even with myself, sometimes I tried to make too good of a move trying to get in close when I should have just shot it right of way. He kind of got in our head a little bit."
In the third period the T-Birds shortened their bench trying to score and seemed to run out of steam. The Americans cashed in with two more insurance goals to put the game away. The first was scored by Malte Stromwell 12 minutes in and McCue scored his second a couple of minutes later. That was more than enough insurance for Comrie who shut down any would be comeback attempts by Seattle.
After playing some of their best hockey a couple of weeks ago the T-Birds have stumbled in their last five. They now have a couple weeks off to regroup, go home and rest up before the second half run.
"I think it (the break) will be good for us," Rouse said. "We were going good for a bit and the last couple games here we've kind of struggled a bit. Maybe the break will help us come back stronger."
Konowalchuk addressed the club after the game to reflect on the first half of the season and where they need to go from here on out.
"I like where we are offensively," Konowalchuk said of the team's first half. "I think we've seen a lot of progress there. I like where we're on special teams, but we need to improve defensively. We're giving up too many goals a game and we have to get better in that area. It's not necessarily the amount of shots were giving but it's the quality of the chances."
Tuesday's game was the T-Birds last game before the holiday break and they will next be in action Friday, December 28th when they host the Everett Silvertips at the ShoWare Center.
Eric Comrie was the star of the game and is the workhorse for Tri City, he now has 17 of the club's 20 wins and has appeared in 32 games for them. This was the first time this season he has beat Seattle after losing the previous two meetings.
Alex Delnov was a scratch Tuesday as he had a personal matter to attend to and went home a day early. Konowlachuk said he will be back with the rest of the team in time for their next game.
With the roster depleted defenseman Taylor Green was forced to play forward again on Tuesday. He centered the third line for Seattle and Konowalchuk said he liked what he saw out of his big defenseman on the night.
I spent some time chatting with T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell before the game. Look for that interview on the blog Thursday as Farwell discusses the first half of the season, what to expect in the second, the trade deadline and an update on Mathew Barzal.
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