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T-Birds take down Giants on fight night, 5-3 | WHL
Seth Swenson had two goals and Justin Myles made 41 saves Saturday night to help lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Giants at the ShoWare Center.
The game marked the T-Birds debut of Jaimen Yakubowski, recently acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes along with winger Sam Mckechnie
The Thunderbirds improved to 10-3-0-2 with the win and the Giants fall to 3-9-1-1.
Myles earning his sixth win of the season and improved to 6-2-0-0 after stopping 41 of 44 shots. Vancouver's Peyton Lee recorded his eighth loss of the season, stopping 22 of 26 shots and his record is now 3-8-1-0.
The T-Birds struck first in the game, scoring just four seconds into a power play at 2:01 of the first period. Keegan Kolesar managed to push in a loose puck after a rebound from an Adam Henry shot. Henry and Jerret Smith earned the assists.
Seth Swenson made it 2-0 Seattle at 5:46 of the first. He carried the puck into the zone during a line change and making his way through all five Vancouver players before sending it home. Kolesar earned the assist for his first multi-point game in the WHL in addition to his first career goal.
The Giants got a power play of their own not long after thanks to a tripping call on Seattle. The dangerous situation was only exacerbated for the home team after a second penalty gave Vancouver 58 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey. Even so, Seattle was able to kill off both penalties without any consequences.
Despite coming up empty on the power play, Vancouver scored not long after to cut the deficit to one. Travis McEvoy had the goal for the visitors, at 15:35 of the first, with Dalton Sward and Andreas Eder earning the assists.
Another power play for the visitors came up empty not long thereafter, paving way for Seattle to draw a penalty and put their power play back on the ice. The T-Birds struck almost immediately once again, at 18:38 of the first, when Shea Theodore scored, with assists for Mathew Barzal and Ethan Bear. Both this and the first power-play goal for the T-Birds came only eight seconds into the advantage. Despite the 3-1 lead, Seattle was outshot 15-11 in a first period that also saw 20 penalty minutes.
The second period began with offsetting penalties to each team, sending the game to 4-on-4 hockey. Vancouver held the puck in the zone for almost the entirety of the two minutes until Barzal was able to clear the puck away and create a break with just ten seconds left.
An up-ice rush several minutes later gave Seattle its fourth goal of the game. Roberts Lipsbergs ended up with the puck near the side of the net and poked it home, just barely getting a centering pass through Peyton Lee's pads. Alexander Delnov and Jared Hauf had the assists.
The teams responded with a second fight, as Yakubowski and the Giants' Blake Orban went to fisticuffs. A second penalty to Seattle seconds later gave Vancouver its fourth power play of the game. The Giants came through with the man advantage for the first time in the game, scoring on a rebound that came across the crease to Carter Popoff. Jackson Houck and Dalton Thrower were credited with the assists.
Any chance at lost momentum was turned aside by the T-Birds, who responded with offensive pressure of their own on consecutive shifts. Aggressive play came back to bite the home team when the T-Birds took a checking from behind penalty. Seattle was able to continually clear the puck out of the zone without incident, however, resulting in the fourth successful kill of the game.
The added energy showed in Seattle's offense, which almost scored on a shot from Barzal off a Lipsbergs centering pass. The home team was denied by Lee, who slid across the crease just in time to tip the puck away. Vancouver's answering pressure also ended without a goal, as both goaltenders stood tall in the period's last five minutes. The T-Birds' eighth penalty of the game allowed for a few scoring chances, including Erik Benoit's shorthanded rocket that went wide of the net.
Seattle was given a man advantage of their own soon after when Vancouver was caught with too many men on the ice. No goals came of it for either side, ending the period with the home team up 4-2 despite once again being outshot, this time 18-11.
The T-Birds power play was still on the ice for the first 1:07 of the third period, ultimately going scoreless. Soon thereafter Seattle was penalized once again, getting two for interference during a Vancouver offensive possession. The Giants struck to make the score 4-3 on a puck chipped over the goalie by Popoff for his second of the night. The assists were given to Thrower and Houck.
A game filled with penalties became only more so when Vancouver took another, giving Seattle its fifth man advantage in the game. Consistent pressure throughout was not enough to extend the home team's lead. By no means did this mean a lack of energetic play: both teams continued to punish attackers, and offsetting roughing penalties at 15:51 brought the game back to 4-on-4 hockey.
Five-on-five hockey returned just as Vancouver pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker. Swenson scored an insurance goal, calmly guiding the puck in after a pass from Lipsbergs left the winger all alone. The empty net goal sealed the victory for Seattle, who was outshot in the period 11-9.
The T-Birds' next game is Tuesday when they face the Brandon Wheat Kings at 7:05 p.m. at the ShoWare Center.
Single-game tickets are available online at the T-Birds website 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.
First period - 1, Seattle, Kolesar 1 (Henry, Smith) 2:01 (pp). 2, Seattle, Swenson 6 (Kolesar) 5:46. 3, Vancouver, McEvoy 2 (Sward, Eder) 15:35. 4, Seattle, Theodore 6 (Barzal, Bear) 18:38 (pp). Penalties - Geertsen, Vancouver (roughing) 1:53. Elliot, Seattle (fighting) 3:19. Thrower, Vancouver (fighting) 3:19. Barzal, Seattle (tripping) 10:12. Yakubowski, Seattle (hooking) 11:14. Smith, Seattle (interference) 13:29. Lofthouse, Vancouver (high sticking) 18:30.
Second period - 5, Seattle, Lipsbergs 11 (Delnov, Hauf) 3:21. 6, Vancouver, Popoff 2(Houck, Thrower) 5:24 (pp). Penalties - Wardley, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct) 0:32. Franson, Vancouver (slashing) 0:32. Yakubowski, Seattle (fighting) 3:37. Orban, Vancouver (fighting) 3:37. Hauf, Seattle (high sticking) 4:25. Wardley, Seattle (checking from behind) 10:54. Eansor, Seattle (hooking) 16:50. Bench, Vancouver (too many men on the ice-served by Lofthouse) 19:06.
Third period - 7, Vancouver, Popoff 3 (Thrower, Houck) (pp). 8, Seattle, Swenson 7 (Lipsbergs, Theodore) 19:08 (en). Penalties - Hauf, Seattle (interference) 2:38. Franson, Vancouver (slashing) 8:07. Wardley, Seattle (roughing) 15:51. Traber, Vancouver, (roughing) 15:51.
Shots on goal - Seattle 11-11-9 27, Vancouver 15-18-11 44. Goalies - Seattle, Myles 44 shots- 41 saves (6-2-0-0); Vancouver, Lee 26-22 (3-8-1-0). Power plays - Seattle 2-5; Vancouver 2-7. A - 3,079. Referees - Dexter Rasmussen, Tyler Adair. Linesmen - Zach Brooks, Mark Heier.