Updated Feb 24, 2013 - 6:32 pm
Everett clips T-Birds 3-2 in overtime
Seattle's Riley Sheen slides as he tries to get a puck past Austin Lotz (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT - For the third time in the last four games the Thunderbirds had a game decided in overtime, this time losing to the Everett Silvertips 3-2. The Everett victory snapped their 11 game losing streak and brought them within a point of Seattle for seventh place in the Western Conference standings. Mirco Mueller's goal on a two-on-one rush ended the game and sent everyone home.
"These overtimes are getting frustrating," said head coach Steve Konowalchuk. "We've sure let a lot of overtimes slip away."
Seattle (21-32-7-1) found themselves battling the referees Saturday night as much as they were the Silvertips. On the night Seattle found themselves killing penalties seven different times, and it may have been the difference in the game as Everett scored twice with a two-man advantage.
"I thought we played a pretty sound game," forward Justin Hickman said. "It seemed like most of the guys were on board, but we got into a little penalty trouble there, two five-on-three goals, that's pretty tough to defend.
The penalty parade started in the first as Mitch Elliot was called for interference. After the play was blown dead Hickman and Everett's Tyler Sandhu were pushing and shoving. Sandhu seemed to sell the encounter a bit and Hickman was called for a roughing penalty as well. That gave Everett (22-35-1-4) their first two-man advantage and allowed Sandhu to score a goal at the side of the net.
Seattle seemed to get frustrated by the calls that were not going their way and it came to a head as the first period ended. A scrum ensued on the ice as the horn sounded and the refs seemed to be unable to control the players as both benches were skating off the ice. Adam Kambeitz was involved in a heated discussion which resulted in the officials tagging him with a ten minute misconduct. When Konowalchuk saw that he had a few words for the officials and picked up an un-sportsmanlike penalty.
"The penalties killed us," he said. "Myself included, I took a stupid penalty out of frustration. I think we settled it down after we took too many penalties and the damage had already been done. You know it was a big game for both teams and emotions got running a little high."
Seattle found themselves in a familiar situation in the second period when killing a penalty Jerret Smith shot the puck over the glass to put Seattle down two men again. That allowed Sand to score his second of the night and after 40 minutes Seattle found themselves down two goals.
The third period was a different story. Seattle came out flying, out-shooting the Silver tips 17-8 for the period and getting a lot of chances. They finally broke through when She a Theodore broke into the Everett zone and fired a rocket shot that beat Austin Lot up high.
Lot made 36 saves on the night and has been tough on Seattle all year.
"Early in the game we were not shooting the puck again," Konowalchuk said. "You've got to get volume against that guy, go for rebounds and you'll get them. Theo's goal wasn't necessarily the best goal, but if you get enough volume they'll go in."
Seattle kept the pressure on and tied the game 11 minutes in when Griffin Foulk fired a wrist shot from the point that found it's way through a see of bodies in front of the net and in. Seattle had tied it and had stolen all the momentum in the game.
"Not much was said (between periods)," Hickman said. "We all just knew what to do, it was good to rally back and get the extra point."
That continued into overtime as well, as they came close to winning it a couple of times before Mueller struck for the game winner.
"I really liked our third period," Konowalchuk said. "We were skating, it was our best period, we had chances to win in regulation a few times, their goalie made big saves and we didn't put the puck in the net and they made a good play in the overtime."
Seattle is still ahead of Everett in the Western Conference standings and can try to put more distance between them and the Silvertips with a win in Vancouver on Sunday. If they play as well as they played in the third period they will have a good shot of picking up two more points.
"We played a pretty good third period," Hickman said. "We out-chanced them, we're a pretty confident team right now and with our schedule coming up we feel pretty comfortable that the seventh spot should be ours."
Leading scorer Conner Honey was a late scratch for the game Saturday and Konowalchuk said he had an upper body injury that had been nagging him, he said Honey was day to day.
The loss was Seattle's seventh overtime loss on the season, which continues to lead the WHL.
Seattle now has picked up points in five straight games.
Everett goalie Lotz has now won four straight starts against Seattle, giving up only four goals in those games.
Prince George got hammered by Portland Friday night knocking them six points behind Everett and seven behind Seattle.
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