T-Birds Shut Down Americans

Doug Love

Sanders scores first career goal in 8-5 victory over Tri-City

KENNEWICK, January 10, 2020 — Jared Davidson and Conner Bruggen-Cate each had two goals Friday night at the Toyota Center to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to an 8-5 win over the Tri-City Americans.

T-Birds next home game at accesso ShoWare Center is Saturday against the Everett Silvertips at 6:05pm in our annual Fred Meyer Teddy Bear Toss presented by WARM 106.9 FM. Single game tickets are on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the accesso ShoWare Center box office.

Seattle is now four points ahead of Tri-City in the second wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Americans have two games in hand on the T-Birds. Seattle is three points behind the Vancouver Giants for the first wild card playoff spot.

Bruggen-Cate extended his point streak to a team high seven games with his two goals. He now has six goals and seven assists in the last seven games.

Andrej Kukuca had a goal and two assists and extends his point streak to five games. He has five goals and five assists in the last five games.

This was the first multi-goal game of Davidson’s career.

Seattle scored two goals in 2:33 and then scored two more goals in 3:14 to take a 4-0 lead to the first intermission.

Lucas Ciona’s forecheck forced a turnover behind the Tri-City net. Davidson got the loose puck and came out from below the goal line at the right post. Davidson’s first shot was stopped by Talyn Boyko but Davidson jammed the rebound past the goalie at the seven-minute mark.

Kai Uchacz worked the puck down the right wall where Davidson got it in the right corner. Davidson passed the puck to Mekai Sanders in the right circle. Sanders beat Boyko on the short side at 9:33 with a hard wrist shot.

The goal was Sanders first in the WHL.

At 16:23 of the first Davidson struck for a second goal to make it 3-0 T-Birds. Sanders passed the puck from the left wall in the Seattle zone up the ice to Uchacz who gained the offensive zone on the left wing and dropped the puck to a trailing Davidson. Davidson cut into the right circle and beat Boyko for with a wrist shot for his fifth goal of the season.

Skating four-on-four Keltie Jeri-Leon made it 4-0 Seattle at 19:37 of the first. Andrej Kukuca had the puck in the right circle of the defensive zone and made a diagonal pass up ice to Jeri-Leon on the left wing. Jeri-Leon skated into the left circle and beat Boyko over the glove for his 16th goal of the season.

Mason Dunsford replaced Boyko to start the second period. Boyko made 14 saves.

Marc Lajoie scored at 2:50 of the second period to get the Americans on the board.

Seattle took the four-goal lead back at 8:46 of the second period. Tyrel Bauer took wrist shot from the right point with Conner Roulette in the slot. Roulette caught Bauer’s shot with his stick, spun and fired the puck at the Tri-City net. Dunsford went down to stop Bauer’s shot and then lunged to his right to try and make the save on Roulette. The goal was Roulette’s 13th of the season and his third consecutive game with a goal.

The Americans got their second goal when Connor Bouchard scored at 9:49 of the second on the power play.

Bruggen-Skate scored two goals 5:01 apart late in the second to give the T-Birds a 7-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

Luke Bateman crossed the puck from the left point to Simon Kubicek at the right point. Kubicek took a slap shot that Boyko stopped but couldn’t cover. Bruggen-Cate banged at the rebound and the puck got past Dunsford but didn’t cross the line. Bruggen-Cate reached around Boyko at the right post and poked the puck across the goal line at 14:54.

Bruggen-Cate scored with five seconds left in second the from the right circle. Bauer pushed the puck down the right wall to Kukuca who backhanded it to Bruggen-Cate in the right circle. Bruggen-Cate beat Dunsford with a hard snapshot over the glove for his 10th goal of the season.

Kukuca scored unassisted on a breakaway at 3:48 of the third period to make it an 8-2 lead. Kukuca blocked a shot and then chased down the puck on the left wing. He came in on Dunsford going left to right and beat the goalie over the glove for his 16th goal of the season.

Blake Stevenson scored at 4:14 of the third to get the Americans third goal.

Sasha Mutala scored on the power play at 12:04 of the third to cut the T-Birds lead to 8-4.

Mutala scored again at 14:55 of the third make it an 8-5 game.

The T-Birds are now taking orders for Flex-24 Ticket packages. Fans that purchase the 24-Flex Ticket Package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the 2019-20 season.


First period – 1, Seattle, Davidson 4 (Jeri-Leon), 7:00. 2, Seattle, Sanders 1 (Davidson, Uchacz), 9:33. 3, Seattle, Davidson 5 (Uchacz, Sanders), 16:23. 4, Seattle, Jeri-Leon 16 (Kukuca), 19:37. Penalties – Hrabik, Tri (tripping), 4:12. Rempe, Sea (hooking), 16:37. Kubicek, Tri (faceoff interference), 18:44. Zazula, Tri (tripping), 19:07.

Second period – 5, Tri-City, Lajoie 6 (Zazula), 2:50. 6, Seattle, Roulette 13 (Bauer), 8:46. 7, Tri-City, Bouchard 8 (Hrabik, Zazula), 9:49 (pp). 8, Seattle, Bruggen-Cate 9 (Kubicek, Bateman), 14:54. 9, Seattle, Bruggen-Cate 10 (Kukuca, Bauer), 19:55. Penalties – Davidson, Sea (hooking), 9:15. Rempe, Sea (boarding), 11:47. Rybinski, Sea (major-fighting), 19:01. McAndrew, Tri (major-fighting), 19:01.

Third period – 10, Seattle, Kukuca 16, 3:48. 11, Tri-City, Stevenson 5 (Bowman, Lajoie), 4:14. 12, Tri-City, Mutala 13 (Zazula, Bouchard), 12:04 (pp). 14, Tri-City, Mutala 14 (Hrabik), 14:55 (pp). Penalties – Bouchard, Tri (slashing), 4:58. Uchacz, Sea (roughing), 9:35. Bouchard, Tri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:35. Kubicek, Sea (interference), 10:51. Zazula, Tri (roughing), 13:07. Uchacz, Sea (hooking), 14:46.

Shots on goal – Seattle 13-17-13 43, Tri-City 9-12-13 34. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 34 shots-29 saves (13-14-2-1); Tri-City, Boyko 18-14 (4-4-1-0), Dunsford 30-26. Power plays – Seattle 0-4; Tri-City 2-6. Referees – Bryan Bourdon, Stephen Campbell. Linesmen – Steve Fleming, Brett Mackey.

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