Sports

Kozun responds as T-Birds deliver fourth straight win | WHL

Taran Kozun made his first start a memorable one, stopping 28 shots to lead the Thunderbirds to 1-0 shutout victory over the Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday night at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Ryan Gropp scored with 45 seconds left in overtime to give Seattle (26-14-2-3) its the fourth consecutive win.

Gropp gained the Chiefs zone on the right wing and then stopped up in the right circle. Gropp put a wrist shot on goal that Spokane goalie Eric Williams initially stopped. The puck slid through the goalie though and slowly trickled across the goal line for the goal. Adam Henry had the only assist on the goal.

Kozun was acquired at the WHL trade deadline from the Kamloops Blazers for Austin Douglas, Justin Myles and a fourth-round pick in 2015. Kozun stopped eight shots in each period of regulation and four shots in overtime.

It was the fifth meeting of the season between the T-Birds and Chiefs. The T-Birds have won all five games this season. It also was the third consecutive game the T-Birds have won in overtime.

Seattle and Spokane (26-14-1-2) entered the game tied with the Everett Silvertips for fourth place in the Western Conference. The T-Birds move into sole possession of fourth with the win. The Chiefs got a point for getting the game to overtime and they are now in fifth place in the conference.

Williams ended up stopping 22 of 23 shots and his record falls to 22-9-2-1.

The T-Birds host the Tri-City Americans at 7:35 p.m. Friday at the ShoWare Center. They travel to Kamloops to play the Blazers at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period - No scoring. Penalties - Maxwell, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:55. Oneschuk, Spo (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:55. Proft, Spo (high-sticking), 2:55. Wedman, Spo (high-sticking), 6:36. Elliot, Sea (double minor-roughing), 6:36. Elynuik, Spo (hooking), 9:17. Wardley, Sea (roughing), 15:02. Holmberg, Spo (elbowing), 17:54.

Second period - No scoring. Penalties - Aviani, Spo (cross checking), 1:49. Theodore, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:49. Gow, Spo (slashing), 5:52. Aviani, Spo (slashing), 12:23.

Third period - No scoring. Penalties - Maxwell, Sea (hooking), 1:05. Gow, Spo (embellishment), 1:05. Wardley, Sea (tripping), 3:32. Smith, Sea (high-sticking), 10:42.

Overtime - 1, Seattle, Gropp 11 (Henry), 4:15. Penalties - No penalties.

Shots on goal - Seattle 9-7-6-1 23, Spokane 8-8-8-4 28. Goalies - Seattle, Kozun 28 shots-28 saves (6-19-2-1); Spokane, Williams 23-22 (22-9-2-1). Power plays - Seattle 0-5, Spokane 0-4. A - 4,011. Referees - Ryan Benbow, Mike Campbell. Linesmen - Jeremi Del Campo, Jason Michelbook.

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