Kent, WA. –In their first game against a non-U.S. Division opponent in nearly 20 months, the Seattle Thunderbirds dropped a, 5-1, decision to the Kamloops Blazers Saturday at the accesso ShoWare Center. It was the first time Seattle had faced the Blazers in two years. The Thunderbirds continue their busy weekend with their third game in three days tomorrow in Everett against the Everett Silvertips. The game at Angel of the Winds Arena begins at 4 p.m.
Seattle Head Coach Matt O’Dette said his team needed a better effort against a team ranked at number four in the latest Canadian Hockey League’s Top Ten Poll. “They’re a good team. They were ramped up and ready to go.” He said his team needed to be more efficient. “We needed to play a clean start to help us get our feet under us.”
Kamloops struck for two goals just 27-seconds apart early in the first period. Matthew Seminoff scored the first of his three on the night at 3:36. Daylan Kuefler chipped in his ninth of the year at 4:02. O’Dette said early mistakes resulted in those two goals. “There were some puck management things, some fundamental things. We made some mistakes defensively that ended up in the back of our net. We didn’t have that period, getting us into the groove and allowing us to execute our game plan.”
The T-Birds (11-4-1-0) started off the second period strongly, outshooting the Blazers, 7-1, through the first six minutes but could not find the back of the net. For O’Dette it was a missed opportunity by his team. “I liked the way we came out in the second. That stretch in the second was good. We had some looks but didn’t zero in on our shots.” Seminoff then increased the Kamloops lead to three with a goal at 7:49. Shortly after Kamloops went on the power play and Seminoff completed the hat trick with a goal at 9:01.
The Blazers (14-2-0-0) tacked on a fifth goal when Reese Belton scored at 12:45 of the third period. The Thunderbirds avoided the shutout when Jared Davidson scored a late power play goal, at 18:25, assisted by Conner Roulette and Mekai Sanders.
O’Dette wants his team to be better against the better teams. “We say this against the good teams, the margin for error is not very big. We need to play closer to a perfect game, especially with the travel and them being fresher than us, we needed to take care of the puck a little bit better, defend a little bit better and execute better. They did that and we didn’t.”
The T-Birds next home game is Wednesday, November 24th, when they once again host Kamloops. Game time for the Thanksgiving Eve battle is 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available online at seattlethunderbirds.com.
Seattle played the game without their third leading scorer, center Henrik Rybinski, who was injured late in the second period of Friday night’s win in Spokane. Rybinski is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.
Davidson is on a three-game goal scoring streak and has points in each of his last four games.
The game marked the first time the T-Birds hosted a non-U.S. Division team since February 23rd, 2020, when they fell at home to the Prince George Cougars, 2-1 in overtime. Since that game Seattle has played 18-straight home games against U.S. Division teams, due to the pandemic.
Full boxscore: WHL Network