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T-Birds outlast Americian in shootout, off to 3-0 start | WHL
The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 5-4 in a shootout Friday night at the ShoWare Center.
Both goalies shined in the shootout, with no goals scored in the first four rounds. Roberts Lipsbergs finally broke through for Seattle, scoring in the fifth round. Tri-City's Lucas Nickles had a chance to extend the game, only to hit the post, ensuring a Seattle victory after five rounds of the shootout.
The T-Birds remained undefeated for the 2013-14 season, running their record to 3-0-0-0, while Tri-City dropped to 1-2-0-1.
The T-Birds beat the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 in a shootout on Sept. 21 at the ShoWare Center and the Vancouver Giants 6-0 on Wednesday in Vancouver. The T-Birds travel to Portland to face the Winterhawks at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Moda Center.
Despite continued pressure from Tri-City to start the game, the T-Birds struck first, with Branden Troock scoring his third of the season at 8:22 of the first period. The T-Birds top line continued its season-opening sizzle, with Connor Honey and Alexander Delnov recording the assists on the goal, giving the trio sixteen points combined on the season to that point.
Only a minute after Seattle killed off a Honey checking from behind penalty, afortunate bounce and a well-timed outlet pass from Justin Hamonic left Tri-City's Brian Williams one-on-one with goaltender Justin Myles, and Williams was able to pot his fourth goal of the season.
A quick penalty for slashing on the T-Birds seconds after the first Tri-City led to a Americans power play which ended in Seattle's first failed kill of the season after Connor Rankin scored from short range. Justin Gutierrez and Brian Williams got the assists.
Seattle was able to almost immediately tie the game back up, scoring on a power play at 15:50 after the Americans' Parker Wotherspoon was penalized for a hit to the head. Honey scored his second of the season, sneaking it through Americans goalie Eric Comrie's pads. The assists went to Troock and Shea Theodore, who made his 2013-14 debut for the T-Birds after returning from the Anaheim Ducks' training camp.
The T-Birds appeared to take the lead at 18:39, only to have the goal immediately waved off because of a T-Birds goalie interference call. The T-Birds penalty kill came back with a vengeance, however, with Erik Benoit barely missing a shorthanded goal after a solid save from Comrie just a few seconds before the period expired.
The shots at the end of the first period were 17-11 in favor of the Americans.
The second period began with Seattle killing off the remaining 39 seconds of the penalty thanks in part to a solid block by Seth Swenson. After several creative chances by the T-Birds top line and plenty of physical play, Seattle took the lead at 8:28, with Delnov putting home a rebound created by a Jared Hauf shot. The second assist went to Jerret Smith.
Tri-City tied the game back up after a brief scrum around the goal, with Williams scoring his second of the night off a Rankin assist at 12:09 of the second.
After a less than amicable pile up in front of the Seattle goal at 15:34, the teams were given offsetting penalties, with the T-Birds' Evan Wardley and the Americans' Philip Tot both getting two for roughing. The four-on-four opportunity paid off for the T-Birds, with Swenson scoring a top shelf backhander at 17:07 after Seattle's Mathew Barzal skated across the crease and was knocked down.
The momentum was clearly in Seattle's favor as the period ended, with the T-Birds outshooting the Americans 15-9 and managing to draw a penalty with only eight seconds left, with Tri-City's Beau McCue going to the box for hooking.
After pulling their goalie with less than two minutes left, the Americans upped their pressure, forcing Seattle into a defensive shell in an attempt to withstand anything Tri-City could throw at it.
Unfortunately, the T-Birds took a delay of game penalty at 19:25 after clearing the puck over the glass, at which point Tri-City tied the game almost immediately on a goal by McCue, sending the game to overtime.
Myles improved his record to 2-0-0-0 after stopping 32 of 36 shots as well as all five shooters in the shootout. Comrie moves to 1-2-0-1 after stopping 32 of 36 shots.
On the road
Seattle's begins a two-week road trip Saturday night against the Portland Winterhawksm. The T-Birds' next home game is Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:05 p.m. against the Tri-City Americans, which is also Pink the Rink Night at the ShoWare Center.
Single-game tickets are available online at the T-Birds website (tickets.seattlethunderbirds.com) and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.
Season tickets also are on sale. They can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.
First period - 1, Seattle, Troock, 3 (Honey, Delnov), 8:22. 2, Tri-City, Williams, 4 (Hamonic), 13:51. 3, Tri-City, Rankin, 2 (Gutierrez, Williams), 13:58 (pp). 4, Seattle, Honey, 2 (Troock, Theodore), 15:50 (pp). Penalties - Honey, Seattle (checking from behind), 10:54. Sheen, Seattle, (slashing), 14:21. Wotherspoon, Tri-City (checking to the head), 15:30. Honey, Seattle (goaltender interference), 18:39.
Second period - 5, Seattle, Delnov, 3 (Hauf, Smith), 8:28. 6, Tri-City, Williams, 5 (Rankin), 12:09. 7, Seattle, Swenson, 2 (Barzal), 17:07. Penalties - Wardley, Seattle (roughing), 15:34. Tot, Tri-City (roughing), 15:34. McCue, Tri-City (hooking), 19:51.
Third period - 8, Tri-City, McCue, 3 (Williams, Messier), 19:33 (pp). Penalties - Eansor, Seattle (slashing), 9:04. Eansor, Seattle (delay of game), 19:25.
Overtime - No scoring. Penalties - No penalties.
Shootout - Seattle 1 (Delnov NG, Barzal NG, Troock NG, Theodore NG, Lipsbergs G). Tri-City 0 (Rankin NG, Williams NG, Top NG, McCue NG, Nickles NG).
Shots on goal - Seattle 11-15-7-3-1 37, Tri-City 17-9-8-2-0 36. Goalies - Seattle, Myles 36 shots-32 saves (2-0-0-0); Tri-City, E. Comrie 36-32 (1-2-0-1). Power plays - Seattle 1-2; Tri-City 2-5. A - 3,240. Referees - Mark Pearce, Pat Smith. Linesmen - Zach Brooks, Kevin Boris.