Updated Feb 24, 2013 - 6:59 pm
Giants Topple T-Birds 4-1
BY Andrew Eide
Playing a game that they desperately needed to win the Seattle Thunderbirds played flat and were beaten 4-1 by the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. Seattle got themselves in penalty trouble and surrendered three power play goals to the Giants who beat Seattle for the second time in the last week. Vancouver got goals from four different players and goalie Peyton Lee made 23 saves in the win.
"It was frustrating," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards. "We were flat in the first period, took too many penalties and were not sharp, we had bad puck management."
Seattle (21-33-7-1) was out shot 17-3 in that period, got into penalty trouble and could not muster much offense. The T-birds took five penalties in the first period and the Giants cashed in on a two-man advantage when Carter Popoff banged home his 11th goal from the side of the net.
It was a disappointing start to the game for Seattle, who is desperate to keep ahead of the Everett Silvertips in the playoff race. It was Seattle's second game in less than 24 hours and the T-Birds didn't seem to have to jump because of it.
"We weren't ready," Konowalchuk said. "It was one of the worst first periods of the season, you can contribute some of that to the turnover, but I thought we would have some momentum carry over from third period against Everett."
Seattle did find some momentum in the second period as they were finally able to get some offense and chances going, but could not get any past Lee. Seattle then got into more penalty trouble as Jesse Forsberg got called for two minor penalties on the same play. The Seattle penalty killers had killed of 3:50 of the long penalty before former T-Bird Brendan Rouse tipped in a Brent Kulak point shot to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.
Seattle fought back though, and late in the period got their won two-man advantage and scored. Shea Theodore fired a pretty pass across the ice to Alex Delnov who beat Lee for his 19th goal of the season. Seattle was still on the power play and came close to tying the game up but Lee made a spectacular, and desperate, leg save on a Roberts Lipsbergs chance.
In the third period the T-Birds continued to get some shots and chances but could not bury those chances. Vancouver put the game away 12 minutes into the final frame as Kulak found the net with a point shot, again on the power play. Not only did the penalties give the Giants their goals, it kept Seattle from sustaining any momentum.
"The penalties hurt us," Konowalchuk said. "Seven a game is too many, we have to work harder, win battles and bury our scoring chances."
The Giants added an empty net goal at the end of the game to seal the victory.
Not only did Seattle waste a chance to move further ahead in the standings but they wasted another fine performance by goalie Brandon Glover. Glover has started the last four games for the T-Birds and has only given up one five-on-five goal. Seattle's schedule gets noticeably tougher in the next week as they host the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday before traveling to Kelowna.
Seattle has struggled to score goals of late. In their last five games they are averaging just over two goals a game. They will need to bury their chances, which they are still generating.
This was the second straight game without leading scorer Connor Honey who is still day-to-day with an upper body injury. His absence has been noticeable in the last couple of games.
Sunday was Seattle's game in hand with Everett and by losing they remain only one point in front the Silvertips for seventh place.
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