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T-Birds Fall in Everett

Everett, WA. – The Seattle Thunderbirds couldn’t take advantage of an injury riddled Everett Silvertips team and fell, 4-1, at Angel of the Winds Arena Saturday.  The loss snapped Seattle’s five game winning streak and prevented them from jumping into first place in the U.S. Division. The Thunderbirds will now take ten days off for the Christmas break.  Their next action is December 28th at the accesso ShoWare Center when they host the Spokane Chiefs.  Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Everett dressed just 14-skaters, four under the limit.  It did not stop them from jumping out to an early lead as they converted a 3-on-1 rush with a Beau Courtney goal less than 90-seconds into the opening period. The Silvertips then doubled their lead with a power play goal from Niko Huuhtanen at 6:55.

Thunderbirds Head Coach Matt O’Dette was disappointed in his team’s slow start. “Not a good start. Not enough focus. Not enough execution.” He said not everyone appeared ready to go. “We didn’t have everyone dialed in. Whether it’s thinking about Christmas or underestimating their lineup, probably a combination of both, and that’s what can happen.”

The T-Birds started to push back in the second period and were starting to pile up shots on goal.  They were controlling the play only to have it halted when they ran into penalty trouble.  They were assessed three minor penalties in the span of two and a half minutes, giving Everett a lengthy 5-on-3 two-man advantage.  Jacob Wright was the beneficiary, scoring his sixth goal of the season at 6:15 and giving the Silvertips a three-goal lead.

O’Dette said the penalties were a turning point. “We came out in the second. We had some good minutes in their end. We were starting to carry the play, then penalty, penalty, penalty kind of derailed any momentum we mustered up.” But he reiterated that it was the start of the game where the contest was lost. “You can’t start the game in the second period.  That’s not when the game starts and sometimes the hockey gods don’t reward you.”

Any thoughts of a third period comeback were wiped away early when Seattle turned the puck over at center ice, leading to Huuhtanen’s second of the night, a breakaway goal at 2:05.  The T-Birds avoided the shutout when Eric Van Impe scored midway through the final period, assisted by Nico Myatovic.

The T-Birds outshot Everett on the night 50-29.  O’Dette said there were plenty of scoring chances among those 50-shots. “I thought we had several dangerous chances, there’s no doubt about that. Could there be more traffic, probably, but you don’t get 50-shots without getting rebounds and causing havoc around the net.”  He said credit must go to their goalie, but his team could have played better.

T-BIRDS EXTRAS

The loss stopped a stretch of nine straight game with a point earned.

T-Birds captain, Tyrel Bauer had surgery on his injured leg Friday and now begins the long rehabilitation process with hope of rejoining the team at some point in the second half. Bauer was hurt last Friday in the T-birds 6-1 win in Kamloops.

O’Dette said while the loss in Everett stings, it doesn’t diminish what his team accomplished the first two and a half months of the season. “Very happy. We were humming along playing some great hockey. The past stretch of eight games or so has been excellent.” He said this loss leaves a bad taste in their mouths but said there is a lot to be excited about going forward. “We’ve had a fantastic first half and we need to recharge the batteries and get ready for the second half of the season.”

Seattle enters the holiday break with the second most points in the Western Conference.

WHL Network

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