Updated Feb 7, 2013 - 7:52 am
Royals dismiss T-Birds once again
Seattle lost both games to Victoria this week by the same 4-1 score (photo whl.ca)
By Andrew Eide
This is not a repeat. The Seattle Thunderbirds fell to the Victoria Royals on Wednesday by a score of 4-1, the same score of Tuesday's Royals win. In many ways the two games felt the same. They both featured Seattle getting shots, not being able to beat Victoria goalie Patrik Polivka and a couple of key defensive breakdowns that were costly.
"We played better last night," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards. "They were winning more one-on-one battles, we were out-battled tonight."
For the second straight night the T-Birds struggled to defend. Victoria got on the board quickly with a power play goal two minutes into the game. Brandon Magee had the puck behind the Seattle net and nobody covered Austin Carroll who was standing in front of the net. Magee hit him and he beat Brandon Glover. The game had a bad look right away.
They then built on their lead as Ben Walker beat Glover from the face off circle 11 minutes into the period. The Royals put the game away just before the period ended as Jamie Crooks poked a loose puck under Glover for Victoria's third goal. The goal was the Royals third on only 11 shots and when the second period started Danny Mumaugh was in net as Glover's night was over. Konowalchuk said the move was a little about how the team was playing as well as how Glover was playing.
"A little of both," he said. "Gloves didn't have his best game, I wanted to give Mumaugh a chance in there, he gave us a good performance."
Mumaugh only allowed one goal for the rest of the game and made several big saves on mini-breakaways. He ended the night with 18 saves on 19 shots in 40 minutes.
Seattle's only goal came early in the second period as they finally found a way to get some traffic in front of Polivka. With Mitch Elliot taking up space in front of the net, Shea Theodore fired a shot that Polivka stopped but the rebound went to Connor Sanvido who banged it home. The goal gave the T-Birds a bit of a spark but they were unable to recreate that kind of traffic in front of the Victoria net.
Konowalchuk mixed up his lines a bit in order to hopefully find a spark. He moved Adam Kambeitz up to the top line to play center between Connor Honey and Roberts Lipsbergs. That spot had been manned by Alex Delnov.
"Delnov, Honey and Lipsbergs have been playing too cute," Konowalchuk said. "They're turning the puck over too much, not playing hard enough, Honey has been but the other guys need to play harder, I wanted to change up the lines."
In the end the T-Birds played two frustrating games on Vancouver Island and have some things to clean up as they return home to take on the Red Deer Rebels and Calgary Hitmen this coming weekend. As the season is winding down getting points in games is becoming more and more crucial if Seattle wants to snap their playoff drought.
Evan Wardley left the game in the third period after a collision on the ice. Konowalchuk had not yet spoken with the trainers and was not sure as to the severity of the injury, but Wardley did not return to the game.
Victoria completed the four game season sweep of Seattle with their win. In a quirky fashion they won both games in Kent by the same score of 6-2 and won both games in Victoria by the same 4-1 score.
When these two teams played in Kent the games were a bit more feisty as the teams combined for nearly 200 penalty minutes. The two games this week did not feature the same kind of play, as there was not one major penalty called.
Shea Theodore has quietly found his offensive game again. He added an assist on Thursday and in his last five games he has scored four goals and two assists. He has looked very confident quarter backing the power play as well. The team will need him to continue his hot play down the stretch.
Follow Andrew on twitter @andyeide
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