Goalie Roddy Ross made 50 saves as the Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Kamloops Blazers 4-1 in a season-opening Western Hockey League game at the accesso ShoWare Center on Saturday night.
Ross made seven saves in the first period, 21 saves in the second period and 22 saves in the third period.
Seattle went in front 1-0 at 10:15 of the first period. Michael Horon carried the puck up ice into the offensive zone on the right wing. Horon had the puck poked away but Jared Davidson got it in the right circle. Davidson beat Kamloops goalie Dylan Garand on the glove side with a hard wrist shot. Simon Kubicek had the second assist.
Owen Williams set up the T-Birds’ second goal at 13:35 of the first. Williams kept the puck in the zone by racing to the left wall at the blue line and chipping the puck down the boards. Henrik Rybinksi controlled the puck and came off the wall into left circle. Rybinski found Andrej Kukuca at the left goal line. Kukuca skated at Garand and beat the goalie short side high for the goal.
The T-Birds made it a 3-0 lead at 18:15 of the first period. Kukuca took a wrist shot from the right circle that rebounded into the slot. Alex Morozoff put the rebound past Garand as he sprawled to make the save. Hunter Donohoe had the second assist.
In the middle of the second period, Ross made a highlight reel save on Mats Lindgren, just after a Kamloops’ power play ended. Ross went right to left and stopped Lindgren with a big glove save that brought the crowd to its feet.
Kamloops got on the board 10 seconds into the third period on Zane Franklin’s four-on-three power play goal.
Payton Mount scored at 17:35 of third period to give the T-Birds a 4-1 lead. Mount took a pass from Horon and broke up ice on a two-on-one break. Mount beat Garand over the glove from the middle of the right circle. Kubicek had the second assist.
Garand finished with 30 saves on 34 shots.
The T-Birds return to Kent ice at 7:35 p.m. Friday against the Tri-City Americans.
Single-game tickets are on sale online and at the ShoWare box office.
The T-Birds are now taking orders for flex-24 ticket packages. Fans who purchase the package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the regular season.
First period – 1, Seattle, Davidson 1 (Horon, Kubicek), 10:15. 2, Seattle, Kukuca 1 (Rybinski, Williams), 13:35. 3, Seattle, Morozoff 1 (Kukuca, Donohoe), 18:15. Penalties – Thurston, Kam (cross checking, major-fighting), 1:01. Kaluski, Sea (instigator, major-fighting, 10-minute misconduct), 1:01. Bauer, Sea (hooking), 14:37.
Second period – No scoring. Penalties – Williams, Sea (hooking), :34. Thurston, Kam (interference), 9:35. Mount, Sea (hooking), 10:26. Ciona, Sea (slashing), 19:00. Baragano, Kam (embellishment), 19:00. Bauer, Sea (interference), 19:32.
Third period – 4, Kamloops, Franklin 1 (Centazzo, Zary), :10 (pp). 5, Seattle, Mount 1 (Horon, Kubicek), 17:35. Penalties – Jeri-Leon, Sea (hooking), 4:20.
Shots on goal – Seattle 18-7-9 34, Kamloops 7-21-23 51. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 51 shots-50 saves (1-0-0-0); Kamloops, Garand 34-30 (0-2-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 0-1; Kamloops 1-5. A – 4,659. Referees – Ward Pateman, Bryan Bourdon. Linesmen – Michael McGowan, Ron Dietterle.