For the Reporter
The Seattle Thunderbirds held off a furious rally from the Tri-City Americans in the third period Tuesday night to secure a 4-3 win at accesso ShoWare Center.
The Americans pulled goalie Patrick Dea for an extra attacker on a faceoff in the Seattle zone coming out of a timeout. Seattle goalie Liam Hughes made several good saves as Tri-City kept the T-Birds hemmed in. Matthew Wedman and Nolan Volcan each blocked a shot as the T-Birds’ five skaters were not able to change for the last 1 minute, 36 seconds.
The T-Birds’ magic number to clinch at least the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot is one win. Seattle hosts the Spokane Chiefs at 7:35 p.m. Friday. If the T-Birds win, they can do no worse than the second wild-card spot. The Everett Silvertips are at the ShoWare Center at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
The T-Birds (31-25-8-2) have 72 points, one point behind the Americans (32-24-8-1) for the first wild-card spot. Tri-City has one game in hand on the T-Birds.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period. Jarret Tyszka took a shot coming down the right wing. Tyszka got his own rebound and curled into the right circle. Tyszka found Austin Strand at the right point. Strand fired a low wrist shot with traffic in front of Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea. Strand’s shot beat Dea low on the glove side.
Zack Andrusiak made it 2-0 lead at 4:31 of the second period. A Tri-City up ice pass from its zone hit Noah Philp in the skate and came right to Andrusiak all alone in the right circle. Andrusiak skated at Dea and went backhand, forehand, and then backhand as he lifted the puck over the goalie as he sprawled in the crease.
Nolan Volcan scored an unassisted goal at 9:15 of the second to put the T-Birds up 3-0. It was Volcan’s 30th goal of the season.
The T-Birds took a 4-0 lead one minute into the third period. Turner Ottenbreit took a slap shot from the left point that Matthew Wedman tipped past Dea for his 16th goal of the season. Reece Harsch had the second assist.
Tri-City cut the T-Birds lead in half with back-to-back power-play goals by Morgan Geekie at 5:25 and Michael Rasmussen at 6:19 of the third period.
Nolan Yaremko knocked a puck past Hughes in a scramble at 15:31 of the third to cut the T-Birds’ lead to one goal.
Tri-City outshot Seattle 21-6 in the third period and 43-33 in the game.
Dea made 29 saves on 33 shots, and his record is 17-14-7-0.
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First period – 1, Seattle, Strand 21 (Tyszka, Volcan), 5:19. Penalties – Bench, Tri (too many men-served by Bjorklund), 7:07. Bench, Sea (too many men-served by Philp), 9:25.
Second period – 2, Seattle, Andrusiak 31 (Philp), 4:31. 3, Seattle, Volcan 30, 9:15. Penalties – Moilanen, Sea (roughing), :28. Rasmussen, Tri (double minor-slew footing), :33. Lee, Tri (interference), 2:25. Yaremko, Tri (slashing), 8:35. Wedman, Sea (high-sticking), 13:55. Rasmussen, Tri (embellishment, unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:41. Ottenbreit, Sea (cross checking), 14:41. Sawchuk, Tri (slashing), 16:14.
Third period – 4, Seattle, Wedman 16 (Ottenbreit, Harsch), 1:00. 5, Tri-City, Geekie 26 (Topping, Bean), 5:25 (pp). 6, Tri-City, Rasmussen 25 (Coghlan, Johnson), 6:19 (pp). 7, Tri-City, Yaremko 20 (Coghlan, Topping), 15:31. Penalties – Moilanen, Sea (elbowing), 3:36. Ottenbreit, Sea (slashing), 5:25. Bryks, Sea (roughing), 10:22. Gatenby, Tri (roughing), 10:22. Bouchard, Tri (roughing), 10:22. Johnson, Tri (slashing), 15:59.
Shots on goal – Seattle 10-17-6 33, Tri-City 12-10-21 43. Goalies – Seattle, Hughes 43 shots-40 saves (13-10-5-1); Tri-City, Dea 33-29 (17-14-7-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-3; Tri-City 2-5. A – 4,353. Referees – Jeff Ingram, Dexter Rasmussen. Linesmen – Adam Brastad, Mark Heier.