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  • Blazers slip by T-Birds in shoot out
    February 23, 2014 7:09 am

    KENT -- The Kamloops Blazers seem to forget that they are in last place whenever they take on the Seattle Thunderbirds.

    The Blazers beat Seattle 3-2 in a shoot out Saturday night in front of 5,080 fans at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Kamloops relied on 33 saves from rookie goalie Cole Kehler and got the shoot out winner from Matt Bellerive for their third win against Seattle this season.

    For Seattle, it was their third straight loss.

    The win was only the 13th of the year for Kamloops, but three of them have come against the T-Birds.

  • Silvertips throttle T-Birds 2-1
    February 22, 2014 7:17 am

    Everett -- The Seattle Thunderbirds were back in Everett Friday night and fell to the Silvertips 2-1 in front of 7,867 fans at the Comcast Arena.

    Everett picked up goals from Dawson Leedahl and Mirco Mueller and relied on a suffocating neutral zone game to keep the T-Birds from generating much offensively. The loss snapped Seattle's four game winning streak against their I-5 rivals.

    "We played right into their hands," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "Give them credit, they played a good hockey game. They played a better hockey game than us and they deserved it. There's a certain way you have to play against this team...we didn't play that well to a man and we couldn't create a lot of momentum."

    Everett's game plan is to hang back in the neutral zone and force the opposition into turnovers. To combat that, you must get the puck deep into their end and then work to get shots on net. Seattle wasn't able to do that for most of the night and as a consequence could not get going offensively -- only generating 18 shots on the night.

  • Thunderbirds playing for home ice as playoffs near
    February 21, 2014 9:28 am
    With just 12 games remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture is becoming clear for the Thunderbirds.
  • T-Birds blow three goal lead in 6-4 loss to Prince George
    February 17, 2014 7:39 am

    KENT -- The Seattle Thunderbirds probably would like to throw Sunday's game into the dust bin.

    After jumping out to an early three goal lead the T-Birds sat back and watched the Prince George Cougars score six unanswered goals and win 6-4. The Cougars were led by Zach Pochiro's two goals and 39 saves in relief from goalie Ty Edmonds to secure the win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

    "That team there (Prince George), they're playing for their playoff lives," Justin Hickman said. "We just took them too lightly and didn't play our game and they got the two points and we didn't."

    It looked like Seattle was going to skate to an easy two points early in Sunday's game. They erupted for three goals, all scored within a minute and a half of each other as they chased the Cougars starting goalie Adam Beukeboom after only nine shots -- he was replaced by Edmonds after the third goal. It was then that the T-Birds let their foot off the gas, started turning the puck over and gave the momentum back to Prince George.

  • T-Birds clinch playoff berth with 3-2 win at Everett
    February 15, 2014 10:39 pm

    EVERETT -- For the second straight year, the Seattle Thunderbirds are playoff bound.

    The T-Birds clinched a playoff spot after scoring two third period goals to come from behind and beat the Everett Silvertips 3-2 in front of 7,579 fans at the Comcast Arena Saturday night. Seattle got the game winning goal in the third from Adam Henry and leaned on goalie Taran Kozun to steer home their 37th victory of the season.

    "Another exciting game against these guys," head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. "Everyone of them have been exciting and tight checking, good win for us."

    The T-Birds found themselves down a goal headed into the final twenty minutes of play against an Everett team that was 22-0 when ahead after two. Seattle (37-17-2-3) didn't let that daunting stat stop them from grabbing the lead and winning the game.

  • T-Birds hang on to beat Americans 4-3
    February 15, 2014 6:36 am

    KENT -- Winning hockey games is not always as easy and clean as one might think. The Thunderbirds proved that Friday night by blowing a third period, three goal lead before coming back to win the game.

    Russell Maxwell scored the game winner for the T-Birds with 26 seconds left in the game after he banged home a rebound to beat Americans' goalie Eric Comrie. Seattle also got three assists from Shea Theodore along with 37 saves from Taran Kozun in the win.

    After allowing Tri City to score three times in the period Maxwell raced down the ice with Branden Troock. Troock took a shot that Comrie stopped but Maxwell was there for the rebound to score his 12th goal of the year.

    "Hank (Adam Henry) made a good pass out to Troock," Maxwell said. "He's got quite a bit of speed so I saw him driving, I was just going on the opposite side looking for a rebound or a shot or something. He made a great shot, far pad and it was right on my tape for a tap in."

  • Rockets blow out T-Birds 7-3
    February 11, 2014 6:25 am

    The Thunderbirds were in Kelowna Monday afternoon for a rare weekday matinee with the Rockets on Family Day in British Columbia. Kelowna were not generous hosts as they beat Seattle 7-3.

    Kelowna got two goals from Tryell Goulbourne and built a five-goal lead that Seattle was not able to recover from. Seattle goalie Taran Kozun got the start but was pulled after allowing four goals in the first two periods. It was the most goals Kozun has allowed since joining the Thunderbirds.

    The Rockets scored twice in the first period as Gouldbourne and Ryan Olsen both found the back of the Seattle net. Down two goals, the T-Birds were unable to get back into the game as they surrendered three more goals in the second period.

  • Hickman, Barzal, Gropp finding chemistry and seeing results
    February 09, 2014 12:59 pm

    With Friday evening's second consecutive 4-0 blanking of the division rival Spokane Chiefs, the Thunderbirds continue their mastery of their I-90 rivals, moving their record to a flawless 7-0-0-0 on the season.

    In their most recent contest, the newly formed forward line featuring Mathew Barzal in the middle flanked by Ryan Gropp and Justin Hickman finished with six of the team's 12 points on three goals and three assists, including a goal and two helpers by Barzal and two goals by Gropp.

    The chemistry between the three is undeniable, constantly manifesting itself in the form of tape-to-tape saucer passes, open-net setups, and defensive zone coverages.

    On Friday night, the 16-year-old Barzal set up Gropp beautifully on two different occasions, the first a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone that led to an easy conversion for the 6-feet-2 left wing. The second was a pass into the slot that Gropp finished with an impressive backhand shot that beat Spokane goalie Eric Williams high.

  • T-Birds continue dominance of Spokane with third straight shutout
    February 08, 2014 8:07 am

    KENT -- Dominance. There is no other way to describe the season series between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs.

    Seattle shutout the Chiefs Friday night 4-0 to bring their record against Spokane to 7-0. Goalie Taran Kozun made 35 saves for his second shutout this week, both against Spokane, and the T-Birds had big nights from Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp who combined for three goals and five points.

    For Kozun, it was his fourth shutout since joining the T-Birds in January and his third consecutive shutout against Spokane. It's the second time this season he has had back-to-back shutouts -- he previously blanked Spokane and Tri City on consecutive games.

    In 184 minutes of hockey against Spokane, Kozun has stopped 92 shots, allowed zero goals and Friday even picked up an assist. That means that Kouzn has more points against Spokane than their entire roster has against him this year. How is it that he can dominate one club so much?

    "I have no idea," the goalie said with a smile. "Just get to play them three times, three shutouts. It's pretty amazing actually. I just try to do the same thing for every game and it seems to work really well for them, I don't know what else to say about that."

  • T-Birds shut out Spokane for the second straight time
    February 05, 2014 9:36 pm

    If it feels like it has been a while since the Thunderbirds have given up a goal against the Spokane Chiefs, its because it has been.

    Seattle goalie Taran Kozun stopped 29 shots Wednesday night to pick up his second consecutive shut out against Spokane as the T-Birds won easily by a 4-0 score. Offensively the T-Birds were paced by Justin Hickman's first career hat trick as the big forward continues his hot play of late.

    In a big game as far as playoff positioning goes, the T-Birds took control in the second period and beat Spokane for the sixth straight time this season. More importantly, they put some distance between the two clubs in the standings.

  • T-Birds pull away from Everett for a 5-3 victory
    February 05, 2014 6:41 am

    KENT -- For the second time in three games the Thunderbirds took the ice against the Everett Silvertips and once again, came away with a win.

    Behind two goals from Justin Hickman the T-Birds beat their rivals to the north 5-3 in front of 4,642 fans at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Seattle broke open a tie game with two third period goals and held off the Silvertips to win their third straight game against Everett.

    Hickman's two goals were part of a big night for his line as he, Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp combined for three goals, eight points and a plus-9 rating on the night.

    "All credit to those guys," Hickman said about his linemates. "I mean, Barzy, when he's got the puck something happens. On my part, I just try to get open and he got a couple of really nice dishes to me for easy tap ins."

  • Winterhawks shut down T-Birds 3-0 in Portland
    February 02, 2014 5:56 am

    The Thunderbirds were in Portland Saturday night and were shut out 3-0 by the Winterhawks in a game that can only be described as frustrating for Seattle.

    Portland goalie Brendan Burke picked up his second straight shut out by making 16 saves as Portland has now won 11 out of their last 12 games. The Winterhawks scored two power play goals as well as a short handed goal as the T-Birds wasted a strong performance by goalie Taran Kozun who made 46 saves to keep the game close.

    The story Saturday night was penalties. Seattle gave Portland eight power play chances on the night which kept the T-Birds offense on their heels and if not for Kozun and a strong penalty kill the game could have been much uglier.

  • 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 am
    In 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 am
    Saturday 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 am
    Just 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 am
    Early 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."

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