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.
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 amWith 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.