Thunderbirds Push Past Tri-City
KENT, Wash. – Jared Davidson registered a four-point night, including a hat trick and the Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans, 6-3, Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Seattle is now forty games over .500 on the season with a 49-9-1-2 record. Saturday the Thunderbirds homestand continues. The Everett Silvertips are the opponent. That game gets underway at 6:05 p.m.
Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette said it wasn’t a perfect effort by his team, but they did enough to get the win. “A little dull off the bat, not quite in sync. We were not quite playing our game,” he opined. “It took us a while to get into the game but happy with the result and the way we played the third period.”
Seattle never trailed in the game. Nico Myatovic opened the scoring at 5:01 of the opening period, by redirecting a Jeremy Hanzel point shot. Davidson had the second assist. For Myatovic the goal was his 26th of the season, 22 more than he scored last year. “I just worked on my shot over the summer and the puck is just going into the net.”
The teams then exchanged power play goals two minutes apart. Tri-City’s Adam Mechura struck first at 14:45 of the first period, then Davidson got the first of his three on the night at 16:48.
Each team scored once in the second period. Brad Lambert gave Seattle a two-goal cushion at 1:24, while the teams were skating four aside. Parker Bell pulled the Americans back within one, with just 27-seconds remaining.
Tri-City evened the score at 3-3 early in the third with a Reese Belton goal just as an Americans power play expired. Seattle’s game winner came at 11:49 with Lucas Ciona scoring off a feed from Lambert and Reid Schaefer.
Davidson did the rest. He restored the Thunderbirds two-goal advantage two minutes after the Ciona goal, off assists from Kevin Korchinski and Luke Prokop. He then completed the hat trick, taking a pass from Myatovic and weaving his way to the front of the net for the empty net goal at 18:25. “The puck’s going in for me,” he said. “The hockey gods are funny sometimes. Sometimes everything goes in and sometimes you’re on a cold spell. Right now I’m a little hot and it’s going in.”
O’Dette is glad to have Davidson on his team. “He’s a guy who can change a game quickly,” he commented. “That was a big third period goal he scored for us (to make it 5-3). He had missed a few games recently and we’re happy to have him back. It just creates more scoring depth in our lineup.”
The Thunderbirds played once again with four key players out of the lineup. Jordan Gustafson, Tij Iginla, Colton Dach and Gracyn Sawchyn are all listed as day-to-day with various injuries. O’Dette said with those players unavailable his fourth line provided him with valuable minutes against Tri-City.
“Some good young players. When they got their opportunity, they held their own and won shifts for us,” he said. “You need that from your depth guys and they were good tonight.”
After this weekend the Thunderbirds won’t play again until next Friday when the host the Portland Winterhawks.
Seattle finished the regular season series against Tri-City with a record of 6-1-0-0, winning the final six games. Over the last three seasons the Thunderbirds record against the Americans is 23-2-0-0.
Davidson has nine goals in his last seven games. He needs one more goal to reach the 100-goal mark as a Thunderbird. “It’s cool, what with coming in undrafted,” he remarked. “But there are bigger things at hand here this season, so the individual records don’t matter as much right now.”
With two assists Reid Schaefer extended his point streak to eight games (7g, 8a). Kevin Korchinski picked up a pair of assists as well and now has 140 points in 139 WHL games.
With the win the Thunderbirds reduced their magic number for clinching top seed in the Western Conference postseason to seven points.
Boxscore: WHL Network