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  • 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."

  • 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 pm
    Things 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.

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