Updated Jan 23, 2013 - 6:57 am
Seattle falls to Tri-City 5-1
By Andrew Eide
Seattle's modest two game winning streak came to a halt Tuesday in Kennewick as the Tri-City Americans handled them by a score of 5-1. Tri-City got two goals a piece from Brian Williams and Justin Gutierrez. Seattle's lone goal was scored by Alex Delnov, his 15th of the season.
It was a strange game in the sense that Seattle out shot Tri-City in every period, held the Americans to only 19 shots and generated seven power plays on the night. Seattle was unable to cash in on six of those power plays and could not manage more than the one goal against Tri-City goalie Luke Lee-Knight.
The T-Birds controlled the tempo for much of the night, especially in the first period where they controlled the puck and got 12 shots on goal. The problem was that they allowed Williams to score his first goal, on the power play as he picked up his own rebound to beat Brandon Glover. Despite being the better team on the ice Seattle was trailing after one.
"Pretty good first period," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards. "We got two power plays in the first but couldn't score, they had one and scored, that was the difference in the period but I thought we were the better team."
Seattle's offense, in the past two games, had been clicking and a one goal deficit seemed easily overcome. The problem was that in the second period the T-Birds suffered some defensive breakdowns and Williams and Gutierrez scored goals less than a minute apart and before the T-Birds knew it, that one goal deficit had grown to a three goal deficit.
"We had a couple of breakdowns," Konowalchuk said. "It wasn't a situation where we were getting beat territorially but our breakdowns were just too big."
Down by three Konowalchuk called timeout, replaced Glover with Danny Mumaugh in an attempt to spark his team to try and rally. That rally took a blow ten minutes into the period when Tri-City defenseman Wil Tomchuk took what seemed to be a harmless shot from the blue line. The puck deflected off two Seattle players and found it's way behind Mumaugh for Tri-City's fourth goal, and Tomchuk's first career tally.
It was bad luck and it came at the worst time.
The fourth goal seemed to deflate Seattle a bit and they could not get anything going until late in the second when Delnov knocked in a door step pass on the power play to give Seattle some life headed into the third period. That was Seattle's only power play goal on a night where they had seven chances, inlcuding two 5-on-3's that they could not cash in on. Seattle's power play looked good at times, getting shots, but the lack of goals on the power play was a big part of the loss Tuesday.
"I thought with the first two (power plays) we weren't sharp," Konowalchuk said. "They have a good penalty kill and out-worked us there. I like what we see in our power play, it's only the second game with this unit but it looks like we have two units now."
Tri-City was able to hold off Seattle in the third despite being out-shot by the T-Birds 7-4 and picked up an insurance goal from Gutierrez late in the contest. The game was not all bad for Seattle. They held Tri-City to a low number of shots and generated 27 of their own. They dictated the play for much of the night, which resulted in them picking up seven power plays, but a few defensive lapses cost them goals and ultimately the game.
"We weren't getting hemmed in, and it's not like we can't keep up with other teams," Konowalchuk said. "We have to put more pucks in the net, we have the skill to do it, our guys have to make plays and on the back end we have to be better."
The T-Birds next travel to Kelowna to take on a strong Rockets club Thursday in the first of a home-and-home series. The Rockets will visit the ShoWare Center on Friday night.
This was the fourth straight game that Seattle has out-shot their opponent. Despite the loss this is a good trend moving forward and is something that was not happening during their 15 game losing streak.
Defenseman Jesse Forsberg was a scratch for Tuesday's game as he got banged up a bit in Seattle's win over Lethbridge on Sunday night.
Brandon Troock also missed the game as he re-injured his shoulder on Sunday night. The team has Troock listed as day-to-day.
After taking the first two games in the season series against Tri-City, the Americans have now come back to win the last three. Luke Lee-Knight was in net for the last two as he has taken over for injured Eric Comrie. Comrie, one of the best goalies in the CHL is out for the season as he recovers from hip surgery.
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