Updated Jan 21, 2013 - 10:40 am
T-Birds outlast Lethbridge for second straight win
Justin Hickman celebrates his third period goal (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT - The T-Birds won their second game in a row Sunday night as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-5 in a shoot out. Luke Lockhart scored the only goal in the shoot out as he beat Ty Rimmer with a nice back hand shot. Seattle poured 60 pucks at Rimmer who had a stellar game, he couldn't stop that one shot though and the game went to Seattle.
Playing their third game in three nights, and coming off a huge win the night before, it would have been easy for the T-Birds to take a night off Sunday. The team played hard though, and kept pushing the play and eventually came away with a well deserved win.
"We just always want to win now," Connor Honey said. "We're turning this team around, after 15 games we have to get on a big roll here and get back into the playoff race and just go from there."
Seattle got the lead in the first period as Connor Sanvido beat Rimmer for his 11th of the season. The play was started by Jerret Smith, who played well all night, as he made a great outlet pass that hit Riley Sheen in stride. Sheen carried the puck into the Lethbridge zone and found Sanvido, who converted.
Letbridge tied the game a few minutes later on a nice goal from Michael Sofillas as both teams matched each other early. In the second period the Hurricanes struck quickly, scoring two goals 42 seconds apart and before they knew it the T-Birds found themselves down 3-1. During their losing streak, when their confidence was rattled, a deficit like that might have signaled the end of the game. Head coach Steve Konowalchuk quickly called a timeout and the T-Birds recovered.
"We came back good there," Konowalchuk said. "He (Rimmer) is a good goalie, one of the best in the league, so you don't want to fall down too many goals to that guy but our guys stuck to the game plan."
The comeback started with a Connor Honey goal. The T-Birds had been on the power play and just after it ended Shea Theodore fed the puck to Honey who blasted a slap shot that beat Rimmer and got the T-Birds going. Two minutes later defenseman Jerret Smith took the puck deep into the Hurricanes zone and found Andrew Johnson wide open for a tap in goal. Just like that the comeback was complete.
"You know we called that timeout right after that third goal and we just wanted to re-focus and come back hard," Luke Lockhart said. "We knew we could keep chipping away and eventually get a couple and we did. Last night was obviously a big momentum shift for us, we were just waiting for that one break to gain some confidence that we could score and compete with any team."
The T-Birds continued to play well into the third period and got two more goals. The first came when defenseman Evan Wardley's shot from the point was tipped in by Justin Hickman to beat Rimmer. Three minutes later Roberts Lipsbergs made a nice play in the slot to beat Rimmer with a wrist shot. The Seattle offense had scored five goals, and had poured shots on the Lethbridge net, something that bodes well moving forward.
"For the most part our forwards were doing the right things," Konowalchuk said of the offensive game. "We were getting pucks behind them, working their D and we really wore down their team and took advantage of them missing a couple of bodies. Your doing something right to generate that many shots."
Seattle kept the pressure on Lethbridge and tallied 22 shots in the third period. Rimmer was up to all of them, after giving up the fifth goal, and he kept the Hurricanes in the game. Great save after great save allowed Lethbridge to score two goals and tie the game with just under four minutes left.
The game went into overtime and neither team was able to score which resulted in the shoot out to decide the winner. Luke Lockhart was the first shooter and beat Rimmer with a pretty top-shelf backhand.
"He (Rimmer) is a good goalie, good at covering the net low," Lockhart said about his shot. "I just came down and wanted to freeze him a bit with a fake shot and just tried to get it upstairs."
Lockhart's goal was the only one converted by either team in the shoot out and as the last Lethbridge shot went wide Brandon Glover threw his hands in the air to celebrate as the rest of the team mobbed him for the second straight night. After the game loud cheers could be heard from the T-Birds dressing room, clearly they enjoy winning and the confidence seems to be back.
"Pretty good hockey game," Konowalchuk said. "We kept coming at them, we put a lot of shots on the net, their goalie had one hell of a game. But we put five goals on a real good goalie, we did some good things."
Seattle gets a chance to continue doing good things Tuesday night as they travel to play the Tri-City Americans
Late in the second period Branden Troock was taken hard to the end boards and remained down on the ice. He got up and skated off the ice favoring his left shoulder. Konowalchuk did not know how severe it was after the game as the team doctors were looking Troock over.
Since returning from injury Connor Honey has arguably been the best player on the ice for the T-Birds. He leads the team in scoring and has four points in his last two games. "I felt great out there," Honey said. "I felt like I should have had a lot more than one tonight, but you can't score them all. But it's coming along, I was in a bit of a slump there before I got injured, I was still getting assists because, Lippy, you just get the puck to him and he puts in the net."
In the second period Rimmer made a save on a scramble play and drew a whistle. The puck got lodged somewhere in his gear and after a five minute search neither he or the linesmen could locate it. They got a new puck and continued play, with the original puck still somewhere in his equipment.
Seattle's offense continues to shine. A season high 60 shot night is the third straight night they've out-shot their opponents and have averaged well over 40 a game in that stretch.
Here are the high light's from Sunday's win:
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