T-Birds playoff notebook: Two down, two to go
March 24, 2014 9:04 pm
After their solid 3-1 victory on Sunday night, the Seattle Thunderbirds find themselves with a 2-0 lead over Everett in their opening round playoff series. The T-Birds haven't had a 2-0 series lead since, well, last year when they won the first three games against Kelowna.
When asked if there was a lesson to be learned from last year, when they could not close out Kelowna, head coach Steve Konowalchuk made it clear that they weren't even thinking about wrapping anything up yet. There is a lot of hockey to play in this series and the T-Birds will have to turn in two more solid performances if they wish to move on.
Here are the odds and ends from the playoffs so far.
T-Birds jump out to a two game lead after 3-1 win in Everett
March 24, 2014 4:46 am
EVERETT -- The Seattle Thunderbirds turned in another gritty playoff effort Sunday night and have put themselves in the drivers seat.
Seattle scored three unanswered goals at the Comcast Arena in Everett to beat the home standing Silvertips 3-1. The win gives the T-Birds a two games to none lead in their best-of-seven opening round playoff series with Everett. Seattle's goals were scored by three different players and they got another outstanding performance by Taran Kozun in net, as he made 38 saves in the win.
This win was anything but easy for Seattle.
"You've got to work for it," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "That's a darned good hockey team over there, you've got to work for every inch of ice and battle and battle and battle."
For the second straight game the T-Birds were out shot by Everett, but for the second straight game they were able to come out on top. They once again got great special teams play, and some great goaltending from Kozun.
T-Birds hold on to take Game 1 from Everett
March 22, 2014 10:41 pm
KENT -- As expected, the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips opened their first round playoff series in dramatic fashion Saturday night.
Seattle scored two first period power play goals and relied on 38 saves by goalie Taran Kozun to hold off the Silvertips and take a one-game lead in their best-of-seven tilt. The T-Birds were paced offensively on goals by Russell Maxwell and Shea Theodore.
Everett and Seattle have played close, gritty games against each other all year and Saturday was no exception.
"Game 1, it's very exciting," Justin Hickman said. "We've been waiting all year for that. That was a hell of a game. We knew it was going to be a 60 minute battle, and that's what it was."
The way Seattle started the game it looked like the trend of close games wasn't going to hold in the playoffs. Seattle struck twice in the first 20 minutes to build a big two-goal lead.
Silvertips looking to stay hot against T-Birds in playoffs
March 21, 2014 6:16 amWithout question, the hottest team in the WHL on the eve of the playoffs are the Everett Silvertips.
Five keys to a Thunderbirds victory over Everett
March 20, 2014 11:30 am
Steve Konowalchuk talks T-Birds, Silvertips and the playoffs
March 18, 2014 9:00 pm
Eleven years. It took eleven years, but finally we have an Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thundbirds post season match up.
As the two fan bases get ready for what should be a tough and hard fought series, the two teams are preparing to face each other for Game 1 on Saturday evening at the ShoWare Center. Seattle has home ice advantage over Everett, something that was their goal from the start of the season.
As they beat Tri City Sunday night, they had to wait out and see if Portland could dispose of the Silvertips in a shoot out which would give them home ice.
"It was pretty exciting, the guys were all trying to get updates," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "They were all sitting in the locker room when that game was done in Tri City. We heard some pretty good cheers when the game went final and they accomplished their goal. I think now we've moved on to our next goal."
Your guide to the WHL playoffs
March 18, 2014 4:40 am
While there is a great deal of excitement locally for the first ever playoff series between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips, the rest of the WHL playoffs should offer just as much excitement. After a play-in game Tuesday between Prince Albert and Red Deer, all the playoff match ups will be set.
Who's going to win? Who's the team to beat? Who might be prime to pull off a big upset? Who are some players to watch?
We have all those answers for you here with our guide to the WHL Playoffs. We will take a look at each conference and give you all the information you need to enjoy the 2013-2014 playoffs.
Thunderbirds focused, eager entering playoffs
March 17, 2014 9:19 amNot many players on the Thunderbirds' roster have had a taste of postseason success. Last year, the Thunderbirds fell in dramatic fashion to the Kelowna Rockets in a thrilling seven-game series. For most Thunderbirds, the matchup against Kelowna offered them their first opportunity at playoff hockey.
Seattle earns fourth seed with a 6-1 rout in Kennewick
March 17, 2014 5:14 amIt took 72 games but the Seattle Thunderbirds have finally clinched home ice advantage in the first round. Needing a win, Seattle got two goals from Shea Theodore and walked away from the Tri City Americans in a 6-1 rout.
T-Birds fall in Portland, will face Everett in first round of playoffs
March 16, 2014 9:28 am
The Thunderbirds fell to rival Portland in ugly fashion for the second night in a row, as the Winterhawks defeated Seattle by a final score of 7-0.
As Everett defeated Victoria for the second night in a row, their ninth consecutive win, and Spokane lost to Tri City, the Thunderbirds now know they will be playing the Silvertips in the first round of the playoffs. The outcomes of tomorrow night's games will determine who is the fourth seed and therefore has home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
In ten games this season, the Thunderbirds are 5-4-1-0 against Everett but have come up short in their last three meetings.
T-Birds late season slump continues with 5-2 loss
March 15, 2014 7:03 am
KENT -- Playing in their last regular season home game of the year, the Seattle Thunderbirds continued their late season swoon Friday night.
Needing a win to keep pace with Spokane and Everett the T-Birds were beaten 5-2 by the Portland Winterhawks. Portland got two goals from Oliver Bjorkstrand, built a lead and never looked back against the struggling T-Birds.
"It was one of those nights you know," Adam Henry said. "We just couldn't seem to get grounded and come all the way back."
It's Seattle's eighth loss in their last eleven games and they now find themselves tied with Spokane for fourth place.
T-Birds drop important game to Spokane 6-4
March 12, 2014 6:57 am
KENT -- The Seattle Thunderbirds are finding ways to fill the last week of the season with more drama than they probably wished for.
With a chance to take a strangle hold on fourth place the T-Birds played a sloppy game and lost to the fifth place Spokane Chiefs 6-4. Spokane was paced by Mike Aviani's two goals and has pulled to within two points of Seattle for home ice advantage, with only three games left in the year.
"That's a stinger right there," Justin Hickman said. "It would have been nice to have that one. I think we would have pretty much put our foot in fourth place there. We've just got to keep going and we don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves, we've got a big weekend coming up."
In the eighth meeting between the two clubs, Spokane was finally able to solve the T-Birds and pick up a huge win as the season winds down. They also found a way to solve Seattle goalie Taran Kozun, who had not allowed a goal against the Chiefs in over 180 minutes of hockey this season.
T-Birds end losing streak with 4-3 shoot out win
March 10, 2014 6:24 am
KENT -- With every point valuable, the T-Birds earned two big ones Sunday afternoon as they held on to beat the Vancouver Giants 4-3 in a shoot out.
Seattle got three assists from Shea Theodore along with a big shoot out conversion as Seattle held on after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period. The win snapped the T-Birds three game losing streak and kept them in the drivers seat to earn home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"It's a big win and it's nice to get that second point," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "The guys deserved it. They played a good game. I was happy with our game for maybe all about a minute."
That minute was big, and after three tough losses might have spelled doom for the T-Birds.
Up 3-1 midway through the third period it looked liked Seattle (40-22-2-4) was going to cruise to an easy win. Vancouver (31-27-7-4) picked up a power play goal when Mason Geertsen blasted a shot from the point to bring the Giants back to within one.
Everett sends T-Birds to third straight loss
March 09, 2014 7:59 am
KENT -- With the WHL Playoffs a week away, the Seattle Thunderbirds suddenly find themselves in a slump.
They lost their third straight game Saturday night as they dropped a tough 5-2 decision to the hot Everett Silvertips. Everett was paced by two goals from Josh Winquist as he established a new franchise record for goals in a season with 42. The T-Birds gave up three goals in the second period to dig a hole that they couldn't find a way out of.
"We quit playing," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "Really disappointing second period and start to the third. We weren't moving, some key guys that aren't playing the way they need to. It was a really lackluster second period and effort."
The game turned in the second period when Everett choked the T-Birds into turning the puck over and then capitalized.
Portland runs away from Seattle 7-3
March 07, 2014 9:41 pm
The city of Portland continues to be a struggle for the Seattle Thunderbirds as they lost 7-3 to the Winterhawks on Friday night at the Moda Center.
Portland got two goals from Mathew Dumba and Brendan Leipsic as they pulled away from Seattle by scoring four unanswered goals late to bury the T-Birds. Seattle struggled managing the puck at times and despite scoring three times on the power play could not contain the Wnterhawks offense. Seattl has now lost two straight games and is 0-5 in Portland this year in games that were not competitive for the most part.
The T-Birds managed to erase a two-goal Portland lead in the second period but could not the go-ahead tally in a game that ended up being a frustrating one for them.
"It was a frustrating game," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "I mean, not all of it...I thought at times we had a chance to take over the game a little bit and get going. There were a couple of key points in the game that we just didn't finish a chance or made a critical mistake and those things kill you in the end."
Goalie Taran Kozun has been a great fit for T-Birds
March 05, 2014 6:44 am
As the WHL Trade Deadline was winding down in January it was beginning to look like the Seattle Thunderbirds were not going to make any moves. After all, they had already made several trades during the year and many thought that they were going to go with the roster they had.
Just before the deadline expired though, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had made a deal but waited to announce the details. Those details turned out to be a trade that sent goalie Taran Kozun to Seattle for Justin Myles, Austin Douglas and a fourth round pick.
It was a trade that didn't garner a great deal of attention in WHL media circles, but it just might be the biggest deal of the season. For Kozun, the deal came as a surprise.
"I was pretty surprised," he said. "I wasn't expecting to get moved at all. Even looking at some Twitter feeds and stuff I was never really on the rumor mill or anything. I was just expecting to be there (Kamloops) for the year and start over again next year and hopefully get that team to the playoffs...I'm happy to be here."
In-season trade acquisitions have helped Thunderbirds reach next level
March 04, 2014 11:21 amThe Seattle Thunderbirds' roster looks much different today than it did at the beginning of September.
Silvertips trap Seattle to win 3-1
March 03, 2014 6:34 am
KENT -- The Thunderbirds found themselves in another grind it out game with the Everett Silvertips Sunday and for the second straight time came up short.
Everett deployed their suffocating trap all night to hang on and beat Seattle 3-1 behind 27 saves from Austin Lotz and three different goal scorers. It was Everett's second straight win against the T-Birds as they continue their push for playoff positioning. Seattle got a goal from Jaimen Yakubowski but were unable to generate much more against a stingy Silvertips defense.
"They're a frustrating team to play against compared to the style of game we played last night," defenseman Adam Henry said , referring to Seattle's 4-1 win against Portland Saturday. "Last night was probably the best effort we've had all year, so it was definitely frustrating."
T-Birds end Portland's 21-game win streak
March 02, 2014 6:23 amThe Thunderbirds turned in one of their best performances on the season Saturday night and put an end to their rivals hopes of tying a WHL record.
T-Birds hold off Raiders in 4-3 overtime win
February 25, 2014 11:07 pm
KENT -- If Tuesday's game between the Thunderbirds and Prince Albert Raiders are an indication of what the playoffs are going to be like, Seattle is in for a fun ride.
Seattle out lasted a tough Prince Albert squad 4-3 in overtime to snap their three-game losing streak in front of 5,044 fans at the ShoWare Center. Alex Delnov scored the game winner 2:35 seconds into the extra frame, leaving Raiders players laying on the ice in disbelief while sending the T-Birds bench into delirium.
This game had a little of everything.
Seattle twice came from behind to tie the game before taking a lead, only to see Prince Albert tie it up late.