T-Birds earn a tough 2-1 win in Everett
February 01, 2014 6:25 am
EVERETT -- The Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips continued their tight checking, hard hitting season series Friday night as Seattle skated away with a gritty 2-1 win at the Comcast Center.
Seattle (32-15-2-3) got goals from Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp while relying on another strong performance by goalie Taran Kozun, who made 24 tough saves. The win gives the T-Birds 10 wins in their last 11 games as they continue to push for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"Since I've been coaching here I think we've been neck and neck with that team, as far as games, hard checking games," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "I thought the last game in our building was as good a junior game as I've seen as far as both teams executing. I thought today, here again, our guys were ready to play and it was a fun game to be part of."
Mitch Elliot impacts on and off ice in final season
January 31, 2014 10:44 amIn his fifth and final season as a Seattle Thunderbird, Prince George, British Columbia, native Mitch Elliot is enjoying a level of success unknown to him and most of his teammates.
T-Birds best league-leading Rockets 4-1 in regulation
January 26, 2014 8:06 pm
KENT -- The Seattle Thunderbirds won their ninth game out of their last ten, defeating the first-place Kelowna Rockets by a final score of 4-1.
It was the two teams' third meeting of the season. They split the first two matchups, each grabbing a shootout win.
Since their historic seven-game playoff series last year, the two teams have begun to develop a rivalry which always provides for an entertaining contest.
"There's still energy built up from the playoffs last year," said Konowalchuk when asked why the Thunderbirds seem to play the Rockets so well. "I think our team has more confidence against them than most other teams since we played them in the playoffs and became a bit more familiar with them. They're a team built with depth through their lines and a good back end, and we feel we have good depth that creates a tough matchup."
T-Birds power past Everett 4-3 in overtime
January 26, 2014 6:09 amSaturday night the T-Birds struck for four power play goals to beat the Everett Silvertips 4-3 in front of a loud sold out ShoWare Center crowd.
Tri City ends T-Birds win streak in Kennewick
January 25, 2014 8:24 amJust as all good things must eventually come to an end, so has the Seattle Thunderbirds seven game winning streak.
Rookie Bear quietly having strong year for T-Birds
January 24, 2014 6:15 amEarly in Tuesday's win against Moose Jaw, Seattle defenseman Ethan Bear picked up the puck on the point during a T-Birds power play. He took a couple of strides, skating into the face off circle and fired a wrist shot that found its way through traffic and into the Moose Jaw net.
The goal was Bear's fourth goal of the year as the 16-year-old rookie continues his strong year on Seattle's blue line.
Bear hails from Ochapowace, SK and while the T-Birds feature a couple of higher profile rookies in Mathew Barzal and Keegan Kolesar, he has quietly been having an impressive first year in the WHL. Playing a position that is tough and taxing for young players Bear has excelled and seems to be gaining confidence with each game.
"I think things have smoothed out for me as a 16-year-old coming in," he says. "I have a few mistakes but (Matt) Odette takes me under his wing, gives me knowledge. I really like it, it's a lot of fun. It's a big challenge but I'm really enjoying it."
T-Birds drop Moose Jaw for seventh straight win
January 22, 2014 5:36 am
KENT -- During their current winning streak the Seattle Thunderbirds keep finding a way to win hockey games. Tuesday night they beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 in a shoot out in front of 4,594 fans at the ShoWare Center.
Goalie Taran Kozun made 29 saves, including all three shoot out attempts, and Shea Theodore picked up the shoot out winner to send the T-Birds to their seventh straight victory. Theodore was the only shooter to convert as he made a nice move to fool Warriors goalie Justin Paulic.
"I don't know, I've been trying it in practice a little bit," Theodore said of his move. "I think I've a terrible shooting percentage but Steve still has confidence in me and I got it done tonight."
T-Birds grind out a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers
January 19, 2014 5:43 am
When it comes to playing the last place Kamloops Blazers it appears the third time is a charm for the Thunderbirds.
Seattle had struggled against the struggling Blazers but Saturday night the T-Birds picked up a gritty 3-2 win in Kamloops at the Interior Savings Center. Seattle got a late third period goal from Justin Hickman, which turned out to be the game winner, and picked up 30 saves from Taran Kozun in the win. It was the T-Birds sixth win in a row.
The win was the first of the year for Seattle (28-14-2-3) against the Blazers and while this one wasn't easy the T-Birds came out in the first ready to play.
"First period, guys came out ready to do what it takes to win the game," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "Then Haufy, Wolfsy, and Mitch set the tone emotionally with hits. Everybody came ready to play."
T-Birds white wash Tri City 4-0
January 18, 2014 6:10 am
KENT -- Newly acquired goalie Taran Kozun has only played 124 minutes of hockey with the Seattle Thunderbirds so far but its hard to imagine a more perfect beginning.
Starting in his second consecutive game, Kozun picked up his second straight shut out as the T-Birds defeated the Tri City Americans 4-0 Friday night in front of 4,677 fans at the ShoWare Center. Kozun stopped all 26 shots he faced and Seattle added goals from four different players for their fifth win in a row.
For Kozun, his time in Seattle so far has been all smiles.
"It's amazing," the goalie said. "I've got a great D corps in front of me, the forwards are all playing amazing in front of me as well. They're getting the scrums out, getting the pucks out. It's real nice coming here and posting shut outs."
T-Birds weekly wrap up: Back to winning
January 16, 2014 6:13 am
The Seattle Thunderbirds are riding a four-game win streak after shutting out the Spokane Chiefs Tuesday night. The four wins has almost erased the injury-laden five game losing streak they limped through after the new year.
Along with getting back to the winning side of things the T-Birds were busy at the trade deadline. Out were Seth Swenson, Austin Douglas and Justin Myles and in were Taran Kozun and Russell Maxwell. While these moves were not block busters they look like solid moves that are already paying off.
Here is a look back at the stories and trends of the past week.
Kozun, Maxwell shine in Thunderbirds debuts
January 15, 2014 3:29 pmThings couldn't have gone much better for 19-year-old goaltender Taran Kozun in his Thunderbirds debut.
Seattle shuts out Spokane 1-0 in overtime
January 14, 2014 9:48 pm
For the third straight game the Seattle Thunderbirds worked into overtime as they beat the Spokane Chiefs 1-0 Tuesday night at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
After both teams failed to score during regulation Ryan Gropp ended the game, and opened the scoring, with 44 seconds left in the overtime period when he flung the puck at Spokane goalie Eric Williams. The shot caught Williams off guard and the puck found its way through his body and trickled over the goal line to give Seattle its fourth straight win.
"They (overtime games) keep you on your toes," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "Definitely fun when you win them."
Seattle (26-14-2-3) has been winning them as they have won three such games in a row.
For newly acquired goalie Taran Kozun, you couldn't ask for a better Thunderbirds debut. He stopped all 28 shots he faced in recording his first shut out of the season and third in his WHL career. Tuesday was his first start for Seattle after being acquired from Kamloops last week.
"He played a very good game,"
T-Birds come back to beat Chiefs in overtime
January 12, 2014 7:02 am
KENT -- There's an old adage in hockey that good things happen when you shoot the puck. Sometimes the game is really that simple.
Seattle picked up a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the Spokane Chiefs Saturday night in front of 4,625 fans at the ShoWare Center. After coming back to tie the game late, Seattle got the game winner from Alex Delnov with just over two minutes played in the overtime. It was Delnov's second goal of the game and secured the T-Birds' third straight win.
"Shoot the puck, that's it," Delnov said with a smile afterwards.
Delnov's heroics would not have been possible if not for a big goal from his fellow European import, Roberts Lipsbergs. Lipsbergs also had two goals on the night and his second one brought the T-Birds back from the brink of what would have been a frustrating loss. With goalie Danny Mumaugh on the bench, Lipsbergs fired a shot over Spokane's Eric Williams shoulder with just over two minutes left in the game.
Once in overtime, Delnov took his shot just inside the blue line to give the T-Birds a big win against a team that was a point ahead of them in the standings.
T-Birds make two deals at Friday deadline
January 10, 2014 4:02 pmThe Seattle Thunderbirds pulled off a couple of big acquisitions before the WHL's trade deadline passed at the end of the week.
Thunderbirds acquire Russell Maxwell from Lethbridge
January 09, 2014 12:19 pmWith the WHL trade deadline 24 hours away, the Seattle Thunderbirds completed a trade Thursday afternoon that will land them Russell Maxwell from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
T-Birds slide past Cougars 2-1 in a shoot out
January 08, 2014 9:30 pm
A night after combining for 16 goals certainly there would be another goal fest between Seattle and Prince George on Wednesday right?
Not quite. The T-Birds out lasted the Prince George Cougars in a tight checking, low-scoring 2-1 affair that required an overtime and shoot out to determine the winner. Sam McKechnie was the only skater to score in a shoot out that had to go to four shooters to get a decison.
After losing five straight games the T-Birds now have won two in a row and finally get to return home after one of the most grueling road trips in recent memory. A night after everybody scored, suddenly nobody could.
T-Birds end losing streak with wild 9-7 win at Prince George
January 07, 2014 9:38 pm
When you're in the midst of a frustrating losing streak, finding a way to win seems nearly impossible. It wasn't easy but the T-Birds found a way to win Tuesday night as they held on to beat the Prince George Cougars 9-7 at the CN Centre.
Seattle was paced by the first career hat trick from Ryan Gropp and rookie goalie Logan Flodell hung on for his first career win by making 21 saves. The win ends their five-game losing streak.
"You know, sometimes you just have to find a way to get a win and that's what we did," Steve Konowalchuk said. "We found a way to get a win and both teams are looking at some mistakes they made and will want to correct them. A win is a win in the situation where we've been coming from and we'll get some traction here and congratulations to the young goalie."
In the end, those 21 saves were just enough as the T-Birds built a seemingly insurmountable 7-3 lead in the third period only to see the Cougars storm back to within a goal. When Adam Henry scored on a one-timer early in the third period for Seattle's seventh goal it looked like the T-Birds were going to be able to coast into snapping their streak.
Hitmen take out T-Birds 10-2
January 05, 2014 6:29 pm
The T-Birds nightmarish road trip got worse Sunday afternoon as they were thumped by the Calgary Hitmen 10-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary's ten goals were scored by ten different players as they ran away from the injury laden T-Birds in a rout.
For Seattle its their fifth straight loss and ends a weekend where they were out scored 22-3 and Seattle has now been out scored 29-4 in its last four games. Sunday's game was much of the same for Seattle -- a decent start and then several breakdowns.
"I thought we started out pretty good, with a good mind set," Steve Konowalchuk said. "Then some individual break downs and way too many odd man rushes."
The good mind set was evident early as the T-Birds started the game generating chances on Calgary goaltender Chris Driedger. While they could not find the net they seemed to be in the game, competing with the Eastern Conference's top club. Despite falling behind half way through the period on an Alex Roach goal, Seattle was in this one.
Edmonton drubs T-Birds 7-0
January 04, 2014 7:55 pm
The T-Birds limped into Rexall Place in Edmonton Saturday night and were hammered 7-0 by the Oil Kings. For a wounded Seattle team it was their fourth straight loss as they continue to play short-handed. Edmonton got two goals from Reid Petryk, five assists from Henrik Samuelsson and scored three straight power play goals to build a commanding lead on the listless T-Birds.
Seattle struggled to get anything going in this one, looking flat from the beginning. They hung with the Oil Kings for a while but when Brandon Ralph scored 15 minutes into the opening period, the life went out of the Seattle skaters.
"I thought we had a little bit of energy at the start," Steve Konowalchuk said. "I didn't think we maintained it, it felt like we were working up hill all game. Definitely didn't get a lot going."
T-Birds open road trip with a 5-1 loss to Red Deer
January 03, 2014 8:00 pm
The Thunderbirds were in snowy Red Deer Friday night and, despite a strong start, fell to the Rebels 5-1. Red Deer got two goals from Vukie Mpofu and 29 solid saves from goalie Patrik Bartosak to erase an early Seattle lead and win the game.
The T-Birds were short handed yet again, got off to a good start but let the game slip away from them in the second period.
"We started really good, really good first period," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "A pretty good second period and when they scored that second goal we quit trying, quit working and we couldn't get much going after that. It's pretty disappointing that our mental toughness wasn't there for 60 minutes."
Trailing by a goal the Rebels tied it up early in the second after Scott Feser walked around the Seattle defense and punched the puck to Cole Chorney who beat a helpless Danny Mumaugh for his 5th goal of the year. The T-Birds seemed to sustain the equalizer but late in the period a sloppy play in their own end cost them.