Thunderbirds Edged Out by Spokane in Shootout

By: Thom Beuning

EVERETT – Despite a pair of goals from Sam Oremba, the Seattle Thunderbirds dropped a 4-3, eight round, shootout decision to the Spokane Chiefs at Angel of the Winds Arena, leaving Seattle still in search of their first preseason win.  Seattle gets a chance for that victory when they face the Tri-City Americans in Everett Sunday at noon.

After a scoreless first period Oremba gave the Thunderbirds (0-1-0-1) their only lead in the game when he snapped a shot past Chiefs goalie Manny Panghli at the 4:40 mark of period two.  Reid Schaefer had the lone assist.

Head coach Matt O’Dette said the lead was a result of a better effort compared to how Seattle opened the preseason a day early in a 5-1 loss to Portland.  “When you are playing against another jersey again, after playing against your own guys for the past week, the level raises and we didn’t raise our level yesterday (Friday).  I thought we did tonight.”

Spokane’s Kooper Gizowski tied the game with a rebound goals seven minutes later. The Chiefs then took their first lead with a goal in the last minute of the period, off the stick of Cordel Larson at 19:27.

Makai Sanders got the game back to even for the Thunderbirds with an unassisted goal at 1:52 of period three.  The Chiefs (1-1-0-0) went back on top on a Copeland Fricker tally at 6:25.  With just over five minutes left Seattle earned a power play and Oremba potted his second of the game, assisted by Lucas Ciona and Sam Popowich.

Overtime was scoreless thanks in part to a huge penalty kill by the T-Birds that included three blocked shots by defenseman Ryan Gottfried.  In the shootout Schaefer and Nico Myatovic scored for the T-Birds but Spokane got goals from Gizowski and Larson and sealed the win thanks to Blake Swetlikoff.

The game marked the Thunderbirds debut of goalie Mason Dunsford, acquired in a trade earliest this week from the Portland Winterhawks.  “It felt good, not having played (in a game) since the middle of May.  It’s definitely weird putting on the T-Birds jersey for the first time but I felt good out there.”  Dunsford stopped 29 shots as the Thunderbirds were outshot 32-23.

Seattle opens the regular season October 2nd in Portland then come home to the accesso ShoWare Center October 9th against the Winterhawks for their home opener.

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