Thunderbirds Sink Silvertips
EVERETT, Wash. –The Seattle Thunderbirds clinched first place in the U.S Division with a 5-0 shutout of the Everett Silvertips at Angel of the Winds Arena Saturday. Nico Myatovic and Reid Schaefer led the way with two goals each. The win was Seattle’s twelfth in a row and gives them a 47-9-1-1 record. The Thunderbirds finish off their three-game weekend Sunday. They host the Tri-City Americans at the accesso ShoWare enter at 5:05 p.m.
It’s a nice accomplishment,” remarked Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette on winning the division banner. “It’s a very hard division to win. We’re happy with that, but there’s obviously bigger goals. We’ll check that box and look to check the next box. There’s conference seeding still to be decided and we want to keep stringing together wins.”
Seattle had to battle through some early game frustration as they had two potential power play goals disallowed, one via goaltender interference and one ruled batted in with a high stick. “This building, you gotta be ready for a roller coaster of emotions and momentum swings,” Said O’Dette of the early discounted goals. “We know that going in. I think we’re getting better at handling that.”
The Thunderbirds finally got a power play goal to count, when Myatovic struck at 8:56 and Seattle led by a goal after the first period. Colton Dach and Lucas Ciona had the assists. “We weren’t too happy with those first two getting waved off,” said Myatovic. “So, to get that first one on the board, it was good to get going on the right foot.”
Myatovic’s second goal of the game doubled the Thunderbirds lead less than two minutes into the second period, jamming home a puck at 1:21. “I just crashed the net,” said Myatovic of his 25th of the season. “Kevin (Korchinski) made a good play, putting a low shot on net and I was just able to bang it home.” The second assist went to Kyle Crnkovic, the first of his two on the night.
Seattle put the game out of reach with two goals just under a minute apart early in period three. Schaefer put back a rebound of a Myatovic shot just 45-seconds into the period and Dylan Guenther followed 58-seconds later, finishing off a passing play with Crnkovic and Brad Lambert.
Luke Prokop had an assist on the first Schaefer goal. He and fellow defenseman Nolan Allan are helping to set a physical tone. “I think that’s mine and Nolan’s job,” commented Prokop. “It’s what we were brought in here to do, to be more of a shut down role for us.”
Prokop won a WHL championship last spring with the Edmonton Oil Kings and knows what it will take to win again with Seattle. “We’re just gearing up for playoffs. We know the style of hockey it’s like, and the teams we’re playing, we have a good chance of playing in the playoffs, so we want them to know what they’re going to get each and every night.”
Schaefer’s second of the game, with two minutes remaining, finished off the scoring. Thomas Milic earned his fourth shutout of the season with a 32-save effort, including twelve in the third period as the Thunderbirds killed off a 90-second Everett 5-on-3 power play.
Seattle killed off all six Everett power plays and now rank second in the league on the penalty kill.
Jordan Gustafson, who played Friday in Kennewick against Tri-City after a six-week absence due to an upper body injury, was given a maintenance day and did not play versus Everett.
Reid Schaefer has goals in each of his last five games, scoring seven times. Gracyn Sawchyn, who had a goal disallowed, saw his six-game point streak come to an end.
The shutout win was the Thunderbirds ninth of the season, leading the league.
Boxscore: WHL Network