Seattle's Shea Theodore picked up a hat trick but it wasn't enough to beat Victoria (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
KENT - Sometimes the game of hockey makes no sense. The Seattle Thunderbirds lost to the Victoria Royals Friday night 5-3 despite dominating the game from start to finish. Victoria got two goals from Brandon Fushimi and Brandon Magee in coming away with a most unlikely win. It was Seattle's third straight loss, but one of their better overall performances.
After a weekend where the T-Birds played about as poorly as they could Seattle (11-6-0-2) seemingly did everything right Friday.
They controlled the puck, they played their game, they generated more scoring chances than can be counted and they out shot the Royals 46-20 on the night. They did everything but win.
"It was a tough one," Brandon Troock said afterwards. "I thought the boys played hard tonight, we did some good things we just couldn't get the go ahead goal...we battled back, did a lot of things right so we're going to get ready for tomorrow."
Victoria (11-9-0-1) took advantage of three Seattle lapses and scored each time to put Seattle in a hole early. The Royals capitalized, got some good luck and relied on the 43 saves from Coleman Vollrath to get the win.
"It is frustrating," Steve Konowalchuk said. "Guys came out and played hard. Still a couple of casual moments, you know, end up in goals. You can't have casual moments, it doesn't matter how well you go, you've got to make sure you don't have a casual moment, we had a couple and they capitalized. We kept coming, kept coming offensively, couldn't put the puck in the net."
Everything Seattle did wrong last weekend they seemed to have corrected right from the start Friday. They came out strong, hitting the Royals, pinning them in their own zone and controlling the play. They out shot Victoria 17-4 in the first twenty minutes and were buzzing.
The only thing that didn't work was that they could not solve Vollrath.
Going against the flow of the play the Royals struck first after a Seattle defender fell giving Victoria a two-on-one that Tyler Soy cashed in on - beating Justin Myles on the short side.
The strange game continued in the second as Seattle continued to bring pressure and control the play. Once again however the Royals managed to score after an errant point pass went through Justin Hickman's legs to center ice where Magee was waiting. He scooped the puck up and walked down the ice by himself to beat Myles and gave Victoria a two goal lead.
A minute later Fushimi took advantage of a Seattle turnover in their own zone and scored to give Victoria a somewhat unexplainable three goal lead. Seattle had out-played the Royals in every facet of the game --save the three breakdowns.
That would be the end of Myles' night as he gave up three goals on seven shots. He was replaced by Danny Mumaugh.
Seattle continued to push the play and finally got on the board after a nice play by Jerret Smith to keep the puck in the Victoria zone. He got the puck to Brandon Troock who found Shea Theodore gliding in from the blue line. Theodore whistled a wrist shot past Vollrath to give Seattle some life.
Ten minutes later Theodore got the T-Birds a goal closer as he picked up loose puck at center ice and beat Vollrath for his second of the night -- more importantly he cut the Royals lead down to one.
Victoria stole some of the momentum back later in the period when Fushimi scored his second goal of the game -- firing a shot off a face off that beat Mumaugh. Seattle headed to the dressing room after forty minutes down two goals despite out shooting the Royals 31-12.
In the third period the T-Birds snatched the momentum back as Theodore completed the hat trick during four-on-four play. On the play he got some help from Troock who was parked in front of Vollrath. Seattle never seemed to give up on the game.
"You know that was good," Konowalchuk said. "They kept working and I thought on the bench they thought they were going to get that (tying) goal and they generated some chances."
Now within a goal Seattle continued to pour the pressure on. They had many chances to tie it up. Some of it was Vollrath, some was bad luck. There was an Adam Henry chance on a power play where he missed a wide open net. Theodore, who had to have logged thirty minutes on the night, hit a couple of posts and appeared to set up the tying goal when Seattle got the puck into the net but was called for goaltender interference.
"I just threw it in front," Theodore said of the play. "I heard goalie interference. I mean, we knocked the net off and it went in after but there's nothing we can do there."
Magee ended the drama as he hit the empty Seattle net to seal the win for the Royals. Give Victoria credit, they took advantage of the few chances that they had and hung on to win. In the end it was a frustrating night for Seattle, but there were some positives.
"You're going to win a lot of games if you play like that, for sure," Konowalchuk said. "The trick is now we've got to come out with that same, if not better, effort tomorrow against a good hockey club."
The T-Birds get right back at it as they return to the ShoWare Center Saturday night to take on the Regina Pats at 7 P.M.
Ethan Bear left the game in the second period with an injury. Konowalchuk was not sure what the nature of his injury was immediately after the game.
The hat trick for Theodore was his first career hat trick and he now has ten goals on the year and is tied for the team lead in scoring with 21 points. "That's a good offensive game for him," Konowalchuk said. "That's what he's capable of bringing and he can really create havoc."
Eric Benoit was a scratch Friday night. Konowalchuk said that Benoit is healthy but he was looking for the right combination of players.
Mathew Barzal picked up an assist on one of the Theodore's goals. It broke a three game scoreless streak for the young center.
Saturday's opponents, the Regina Pats, were in attendance for most of the game Friday night, they left after two periods.
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