Thunderbirds Jet Past Everett
KENT, Wash. –Brad Lambert’s second goal of the game, early in overtime, sent the Seattle Thunderbirds past the Everett Silvertips, 6-5, Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center. The win pushed Seattle back atop the Western Conference standings with a 35-8-1-1 record. Coupled with a loss by Victoria, it also clinched the Thunderbirds a spot in the 2023 WHL Playoffs. The same two teams will meet again Saturday at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. Game time for the rematch is 6:05 p.m.
Lambert, who had also scored in the third period on the power play, took a pass from Kevin Korchinski, skated past the Everett defense and snapped home his third of the season at the :54 mark of extra time.
“Obviously being able to help the team win and clinch a playoff spot, it was what we were looking for tonight,” said the 2022 first round draft pick of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. “At times we made it a little tough on ourselves, but we came out with the win and that’s what matters.”
Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette said it wasn’t the best game Seattle has put forward, but it got them the win. “We’re happy with the result. It certainly wasn’t an oil painting, not a typical Thunderbirds game. Lot of things we need to clean up defensively. We’re not happy giving up that many goals against.”
Everett got on the board first with an Austin Roest goal at 7:34 of the first period. Seattle tied it when Kyle Crnkovic scored his 24th of the season, unassisted on a shorthanded breakaway at 15:57.
The Thunderbirds grabbed their first lead of the game with a pair of goals in the first half of period two. Coster Dunn redirected in a Sawyer Mynio point shot at 5:45. Less than two minutes later Nico Myatovic scored his eighteenth of the season while the two teams skated four aside.
The Silvertips countered with two goals from Jackson Berezowski. The first came at 13:16 of the second period. The second came just thirteen seconds into period three.
Seattle regained the lead with a Kevin Korchinski goal at 3:08. Korchinski would end the night with four points on a goal and three assists. The lead lasted for just 67-seconds as Everett’s Roan Woodward converted on a penalty shot at 4:15.
The Thunderbirds went back up 5-4 with Lambert’s power play goal at 10:38. “It’s been good these two games,” said Lambert of Seattle’s power play on their current homestand. “We’re looking to keep it going and score some more. I think it’s a big part if we want to go far, if the special teams are working.”
Everett tied the game at 5-5 when Beau Courtney snuck in a goal at 13:16, forcing the extra hockey.
The Thunderbirds thought they had the game won in the early stages of overtime, only to have a goal disallowed because of goaltender interference. Just seconds later they won a neutral zone faceoff and Lambert did the rest.
O’Dette said Lambert can be a difference maker going forward. “It’s nice to have that game breaker. The big right shot on the power play and then you give him time and space to wind up that speed in overtime, that’s what he can do. He pulled it out of the fire for us. Clearly we’re ecstatic to have him.”
The home game Friday against Everett was the start of a three-game weekend for Seattle. After traveling to Everett on Saturday they return home Sunday to play the Spokane Chiefs at 5:05 p.m.
With a goal and an assist in the game Kyle Crnkovic is one point shy of 275 points in his WHL career. The win over Everett was Crnkovic’s 255th game in the league.
With an assist on Seattle’s second goal, Ashton McNelly now has points (1g, 2a) in three of his last four games.
Seattle has won eight straight against Everett dating back to last season. That includes winning the first seven games of their ten game regular season series this year.
With Portland losing to Tri-City the Thunderbirds jumped back into first place in the Western Conference with 72 points, one more than the Winterhawks. Seattle also has two games in hand.
Boxscore: WHL Network