Updated Jan 6, 2013 - 8:54 am
Spokane hands T-birds 10th straight loss, 5-2
By Andrew Eide
KENT - The Seattle Thunderbirds misery continued Saturday night as they dropped their 10th game in a row by a score of 5-2 in front of 4,191 at the ShoWare Center. Seattle got goals from Jesse Forsberg and Alex Delnov but found themselves on the wrong end of too many penalties which killed any momentum they had.
"We've got to stay out of the penalty box," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards. "That's the difference in the game, you know it shows the frustration our guys have. Generally we're pretty good in that area but I think it shows frustration, but that was the difference in the game. I mean we killed off penalties but it over-taxes guys, gave them some shots and whether they are bad calls or not we have to be accountable. We can't control the officiating and we have to be smarter because there were a couple that were bad penalties."
When you are mired in a long losing streak the puck doesn't bounce your way. This was never more evident than it was in the first period when Seattle's Brendan Rouse made a great move to get Spokane goalie Eric Williams down on the ice. Rouse had the whole net open and the crowd was ready to erupt when Williams reached back and made on of the best saves of the season to rob Seattle the early lead. The Chiefs then got the puck, went down the ice and scored on the next shift as Dylan Walchuk walked out in front and potted a top shelf shot.
Those things happen when you lose ten in a row.
Down a goal in the second period Seattle found some life as Forsberg scored on the power play and then a few minutes later Delnov converted a nice deflection off a Griffin Foulk point shot to give Seattle the lead. The two goals gave Seattle some energy and it appeard maybe Saturday night was the night the losing streak would end. Spokane pushed back however and took the lead back.
The Chiefs got goals from Collin Valcourt to tie the game and then Michael Aviani banged home a loose puck to give Spokane the lead for good. Konowlachuk did not like the way the team responded to falling behind in Kamloops on Friday night. How did he like their response to falling behind 3-2?
"You know, I thought we pushed better, " he said. "Again, some of the execution is still frustrating but we were still pushing when it was 3-2, we were getting a couple of chances and then we got in penalty trouble. I didn't think anybody hung their head today. We still have to be better."
Spokane got nine power plays on the night and while Seattle killed off eight of them, the long periods of being short-handed did not allow the T-birds to get any rhythm going. Many of the calls were suspicious and the players and coaches grew more and more frustrated as the calls kept coming.
"There were some frustrating things out there," Konowalchuk said of the penalties. "I'm not going to get into it because we deserved some and we have to be better in that area and there's no excuse."
So now Seattle has lost 10 straight games and continue to look for answers. This team had shown the ability to bounce back from adversity early in the season and they need to find that confidence again.
"You'll break down some good stuff," Konowalchuk said of his message to the team. "Take some positives out of that, some chances that they did create, but then still correct mistakes. Tonight was a penalty issue and when things aren't going good you can't afford to have any error, you have to be really, really disciplined in every area."
Seattle will get their chance at some revenge as they play the Chiefs two more times this week in a strange schedule quirk that sees the two clubs face off three straight times. The next game is on Tuesday at the ShoWare Center and then the teams play again Thursday night in Spokane.
With all of the power play time the Chiefs were able to rack up 50 shots on the night, Brandon Glover played well in making 45 saves.
Seattle should have Roberts Lipsbergs back for the game against Spokane on Tuesday as the World Junior Championships have ended.
One of the most bizarre non-calls of the night was when Spokane back up goalie Garret Hughson reached over the bench to glove a shoot in attempt. It appeared that the puck was going to hit the glass next to him and carom into the Spokane zone. The officials made no call, where one was warranted, and added to Seattle's frustration.
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