KENT, March 25, 2014 - The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Everett Silvertips 4-3 in overtime Tuesday night at ShoWare Center. Seattle now holds a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 scheduled for Friday in Everett at Comcast Arena at 7:05 pm. A win on Friday would move Seattle on to the second round of the playoffs.
Mathew Barzal scored the overtime winner four minutes into the extra period. Barzal, who had Seattle's best chance early in the extra time, skated behind the net and out in front, where he threw a spinning shot towards the net. Lotz was unable to find the puck as it bounced through traffic and squeaked in past his right leg to end the game.
Starting the same day he was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week, Taran Kozun made 26 saves in regulation and two saves in overtime to get his third win of the series. Austin Lotz stopped 25 shots for Everett and took the loss.
The T-Birds had the offensive push to start the game, coming out with four shots in the first two minutes and only allowing Everett into the offensive zone once. Seattle took a penalty at 4:08 however, giving Everett a chance to turn the tables. The penalty kill, led by Scott Eansor, kept the Silvertips from ever really creating a chance, forcing neutral zone turnovers and quickly clearing the puck the few times it entered the zone.
Unfortunately, an unlucky bounce hurt the home team. Seattle blocked Everett's shot from the point, their first of the power play, only to have it bounce directly to Patrick Bajkov, who beat Kozun to make it 1-0 at 5:54. It was the first shot on goal of the game for Everett.
Seattle didn't let up physically, continuing to take the body and forcing turnovers with active sticks. The T-Birds dislodged a glass panel with a hit by Russell Maxwell on Everett's Mirco Mueller at 7:27, causing a stoppage of play. Seattle kept right at it after the game resumed, diligently breaking up Everett passes and only allowing one zone entry in the next two minutes.
Once again, bad luck struck the T-Birds, who were given a delay of game penalty after accidentally sending the puck over the glass. Seattle's penalty kill did their job, even creating a 2-on-1 break after Jerret Smith left the box. Smith's pass to Keegan Kolesar went a bit out of reach.
Kozun's long outlet pass at 13:32 led to Seattle's tying goal. Kozun rifled a pass from the crease to Maxwell at the top of the offensive zone during an Everett line change. Maxwell's shot missed the net, but the puck rebounded back in front and Branden Troock was able to gain control and put it in the empty net. Roberts Lipsbergs also got his stick on the puck, getting the primary assist, while Maxwell had the secondary.
A third power play went to the Silvertips at 15:35 after a checking from behind call. Everett was given a four-minute man advantage thanks to the double minor call, giving them four power plays in the first period. The visitors took an interference call 57 seconds into this advantage after Dawson Leedahl ran into Kozun as the goalie covered the puck. This made it 4-on-4 for two minutes, followed by 1:03 of power play time for Everett.
The visitors took the lead back on the power play. Everett won the puck from the end boards and then had time to pass across the crease to Bajkov, who shot it into the net as Kozun attempted to slide over. It was Bajkov's second goal of the night, with Manraj Hayer picking up the only assist for his second point.
Shots in the first period were 14-13 Everett, with the Silvertips going 2 for 4 on the power play. Seattle did not have a power play in the period.
Four-on-four hockey made its return at 3:24 when offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct calls opened the ice. This worked perfectly for Seattle, who scored at 4:02 to tie the game. Eansor tipped a Smith shot from the boards high and over Lotz's shoulder to make it 2-2. It was Eansor's first goal of the playoffs.
Though Seattle's renewed energy created a few more chances for them, Everett had the game's next power play, coming at 8:50. The T-Birds cleared the puck four times in the first minute, effectively stopping any offense. Everett managed to set up the offense in the last 30 seconds and had a few dangerous opportunities missed, ending the power play and keeping the game tied.
The T-Birds got their first power play of the game with 7:40 left in the second period. The WHL's best power play in the playoffs was stymied by the Silvertips, who did not allow a shot for Seattle. Everett took a second penalty with eight seconds remaining to put Seattle back on the power play, in addition to giving them eight seconds of 5-on-3. Maxwell had a chip shot during those eight seconds that nearly beat Lotz before Seattle went to 5-on-4. The T-Birds couldn't score but looked dangerous, just missing several times during their extended pressure.
Everett took the lead on the rush at 17:54. Mueller beat Kozun as the defenseman raced up the ice, making it 3-2. Hayer and Josh Winquist had the assists.
Shots were 9-7 Seattle in the second period.
Seattle had the first two shots of the third period, but Everett was able to control the puck for much of the first five minutes. The T-Birds responded with physicality, punishing the Silvertips even as Everett held the puck in the zone for upwards of a minute, recording just one shot. A series of big hits by Evan Wardley helped Seattle to regain control.
The home team tied the game on their next rush, with Eansor getting his second of the game at 4:31. Jaimen Yakubowski passed to Eansor, who was open rushing toward the right faceoff dot. Eansor then beat Lotz with the shot, making it 3-3
Seattle took a penalty on the next shift, giving Everett its sixth power play of the game. The T-Birds forced an offside and held the puck for 20 seconds, killing off the Everett advantage with ease.
The home team was penalized again at the 10-minute mark, making it seven power plays for Everett to one for Seattle. Eansor nearly scored on the breakaway in the first few seconds of the man advantage, followed by a second breakaway by Maxwell. Both of these were broken up, with Everett's ensuing attack ending in a scrum that saw offsetting penalties. Seattle killed the remaining minute, getting the game back to even strength.
Kozun and Smith combined for a great defensive play at 14:30. Kozun tapped away a point-blank shot. Everett's skater stayed with the puck, but Smith fought him off it and gave Kozun time to slide across as the puck went harmlessly to the boards.
Kozun made another save on a dangerous opportunity at 16:41. Everett got a shot off from a sharp angle just a few feet from the goal, which was deflected off Kozun's pads and off the crossbar. The play was reviewed and the no-goal call stood.
With the game still tied, Seattle was given a golden opportunity with their second power play with just 1:52 left in regulation. Everett managed to clear the puck after 40 seconds of pressure. The T-Birds got right back on the attack, with play stopping only when Lotz was forced to catch the home team's second shot of the power play. Regulation ran out after that, leaving Seattle with four seconds of power-play time in overtime.
Shots were 8-6 in a third period that ended tied at three goals each.
First Round Schedule Vs. Everett
Game 1 - Seattle 2, vs. Everett 1
Game 2 - vs. Seattle 3, Everett 1
Game 3 - Seattle 4, vs. Everett 3 (OT)
Game 4 - Seattle @ Everett Friday, March 28, 7:35pm
Game 5 - Everett @ Seattle Saturday, March 29, 7:05pm*
Game 6 - Seattle @ Everett Monday, March 31, 7:05pm*
Game 7 - Everett @ Seattle Wednesday, April 2, 7:05pm*
* if necessary
T-Birds single game playoff tickets are currently on sale 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, Everett, Bajkov 2 (Hayer, Mueller), 5:54 (pp). 2, Seattle, Troock 2 (Lipsbergs, Maxwell), 13:32. 3, Everett, Bajkov 3 (Hayer), 19:00 (pp). Penalties - Elliot, Seattle (interference), 4:08. Smith, Seattle (delay of game), 9:49. Yakubowski, Seattle (double minor- checking from behind), 15:35. Leedahl, Everett (interference), 16:32.
Second period - 4, Seattle, Eansor 1 (Smith), 4:02. 5, Everett, Mueller 1 (Hayer, Winquist), 17:54. Penalties - Hickman, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:24. Betker, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:24. Hickman, Seattle (tripping), 8:50. Winquist, Everett (elbowing), 12:19. Betker, Everett (high-sticking), 14:12.
Third period - 6, Seattle, Eansor 2 (Yakubowski), 4:31. Penalties - Lipsbergs, Seattle (checking to the head), 4:46. Elliot, Seattle (kneeing), 10:00. Kozun, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct- served by Maxwell), 10:52. Winquist, Everett (slashing), 10:52. Bench, Everett (too many men- served by Stadnyk), 18:08.
Overtime - 7, Seattle, Barzal 1 (Hickman, Gropp), 3:47. Penalties - No penalties.
Shots on goal - Seattle 13-9-6-1 29, Everett 14-7-8-2 31. Goalies - Seattle, Kozun 31 shots-28 saves (3-0); Everett, Lotz 29-25 (0-3). Power plays - Seattle 0-2; Everett 2-7. A - 5,176. Referees - Fraser Lawrence, Steve Papp. Linesmen - Ron Dietterle, Mark Heier.