Seattle's Andrew Johnson tries to get a shot off on Everett goalie Austin Lotz (Photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT - Seattle and Everett squared off Saturday night in the biggest game of the season for both teams. Everett got a late goal from Dawson Leedahl to give the Silvertips the 4-3 win in a game that got real ugly in the final minutes. It was a back and forth game all night long that in the end was a frustrating loss for Seattle.
"I thought it was a pretty evenly played game," Steve Konowalchuk said. "Both teams were playing a fairly safe game again and ended up with them getting that late bounce."
The game started well for Seattle as Luke Lockhart opened the scoring with a short handed goal, his sixth short handed tally of the season, to give Seattle an early lead. Both teams traded shots and chances in an evenly played period that saw the Silvertips tie the game with a short handed goal of their own. Seattle had four players chase the puck beneath the Everett goal line which led to a two-on-one the other way for Reid Petryk. Petryk held onto the buck and beat Brandon Glover for his 15th goal of the year.
The T-Birds took the lead in the second when Connor Honey scored his first goal since returning from injury Friday night. He beat Lotz on a nice wrap around goal, giving Seattle their second lead of the game.
Seattle's lead lasted about ten minutes until Kyle Bauml got loose on a break away and was stopped by Glover. Glover could not control the rebound however and Tyler Sandhu was able to get the puck in the net. The goal seemed to get Everett some momentum and they closed out the period with several flurries and ended up out shooting Seattle 14-9.
The third period is when the frustration began to build for Seattle.
It started as Glover played the puck to the left of his net and was called for playing the puck outside the trapezoid. Glover did not agree with the call and was visibly upset, banging his stick on the glass. Sandhu made Seattle pay on the resulting power play by scoring his second of the night to give Everett a 3-2 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
"If he played it outside the trapezoid on the goal line it's a penalty," Konowalchuk said. "I couldn't see from the bench, the ref was right there, I'm assuming he made the right call."
On the ensuing face off Seattle's Shea Theodore took the puck and flew into the Everett zone to beat Lotz for a pretty goal, his 18th of the year. It was one of many highlight type Theodore goals as he broke in on Lotz and got him on the ice before sliding the puck by him. That brought the crowd to life and it seemed Seattle might pull the game out.
With just under three minutes left however Everett struck again. This time the goal had some controversy. Glover was knocked into and while down the puck trickled into the Seattle net giving Everett the lead. The goal was credited to Leedahl and it was unclar if an Everett or a Seattle player was the one that knocked Glover down. Needless to say the normally calm Glover was furious with the call.
"I don't know what happened there, I have to look at the replay," Konowalchuk said. "I thought someone knocked into him but I don't know it happened quick and the puck went in there.
Frustration boiled over for the Thunderbirds after that as a late non-call on a hit from behind by Mirco Mueller on Alex Delnov went uncalled. As Delnov fell to the ice Evan Wardley flew in to take out Mueller and chaos ensued. All five players on the ice converged as a lot of pushing and wrestling took place. As the refs were trying to separate the players Glover raced down the ice to engage with Lotz. The two goalies shed themselves of the linesman trying to break it up and fought.
Glover ended up receiving 17 minutes of penalties on the play as his evening was done. Wardley also received a five minute major for charging along with a game misconduct.
"Well I thought Delly got hit from behind there," Konowalchuk said about the play. "We want guys to stand up for each other, I don't expect to run the guy but I thought we should have had the original penalty on Delnov, that's what started it. We do need to stick up for our teammates but we have to go in there with more caution."
In the end it was frustrating night for Seattle as they allowed both Everett and Prince George to gain ground on them in the playoff race. Everett is now one point behind while Prince George, who won a shoot out in Tri City, are now only five back. Both Everett and Seattle have three games left in the season. Prince George has five.
Seattle next plays Tri City at the ShoWare Center on Tuesday with another chance to put more distance between them and Everett.
"We've got to get back at it, we got a big game next game and we've got to get back at it and go from there," Konowalchuk said.
For the second straight game Everett's Tyler Sandhu scored two goals against the T-Birds. Sandhu scored twice in the February 23rd overtime Silvertips win.
The goalie fight was Glover's first although he almost engaged in one last month with Prince George's Mac Engel only to be stopped by the linesmen.
Seattle only was awarded one power play on the game while Everett had five, scoring on one.
Luke Lockhart is now tied, with three other players for the league lead in short handed goals.
Chris Pronger of the Philadelphia Flyers was in attendance for Saturday's game. Pronger, who is recovering from a head injury is scouting for the Flyers while he recovers.
Here are your game highlights: