EVERETT, March 23, 2014 - The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Everett Silvertips 3-1 on Sunday night at Comcast Arena in Game 2 of their first round playoff series. The win gave Seattle a 2-0 series lead. The best-of-seven series will resume Tuesday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, where Seattle went 23-9-1-3 in the regular season.
After stopping 38 of 39 shots in game one, Taran Kozun stopped 26 of 27 and once again was the first star of the game, getting his second win. Kozun now has a .969 save percentage in the series. Austin Lotz started again for Everett and took the loss, stopping 13 of 16 shots.
Chippy play came early on, with the T-Birds getting a few hits on the first shift and a brief scrum popping up after Kozun covered the game's first shot. Jerret Smith had the first shot of the game for Seattle, coming on a turnover by Everett along the boards.
Seattle nearly scored on a rush at 2:27, but was stopped by Lotz. Roberts Lipsbergs' centering pass found Branden Troock, who tipped the puck on net. Lotz was there and covered up as he slid back into the net, getting the whistle.
A giveaway behind the net cost the T-Birds, giving Everett the lead at 3:51. Brayden Low collected the puck from the end boards and passed to Carson Stadnyk in front. Stadnyk got a shot off before Kozun could recover and beat the goalie to take the 1-0 lead.
Seattle stymied Everett from there, especially on the forecheck, where the T-Birds continually forced turnovers. The Silvertips recorded just two shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, though Seattle was only credited with three shots during that time as numerous attempts were blocked or went wide of the net. All three of those shots came from the Lipsbergs-Troock-Maxwell line, as the three combined for a few dangerous rushes and forced turnovers on the forecheck.
Unfortunately, the first penalty of the game went against Seattle in the neutral zone. The power play for the home team kept control of the puck but struggled to do much with it, as Seattle pinned it to the boards on multiple occasions and was able to clear it a few more times. Two mistimed passes by Everett also resulted in clearances, leaving the score as it was after the penalty expired.
The Silvertips had their most dangerous chances during even-strength hockey a few minutes later, though Kozun stopped everything thrown at him. Seattle responded well, getting a power play after almost a full minute of delayed penalty time. A poor pass gave Everett a breakaway that appeared to be effectively stopped by Seattle's defense, but a penalty was called, making it 4-on-4 for 1:12. Troock had a strong shot on the rush during this time, but Lotz made a glove save that was followed by arguments resulting in offsetting penalties. Bad blood continued to boil, with more penalties during Everett's 42-second power play.
Shots in the first period were 9-5 Everett, with the only goal going their way as well.
Seattle had the first shot and drew the first penalty of the period, giving them a power play three minutes into the second. The T-Birds just barely missed the tying goal when Troock's centering pass went out of reach of Ryan Gropp, who had pinched down on the rush from his position as a defenseman on the power play.
Fortune favored Seattle when the Silvertips took a second penalty, making it 5-on-3 for 39 seconds. Lipsbergs scored 20 seconds into that time. Adam Henry corralled the puck after Shea Theodore's shot was blocked. Henry faked a shot and skated along the top of the zone before getting a pass to Lipsbergs. The Latvian was camped near the crease and put the puck top shelf at 5:01 to make it 1-1.
Icing calls against both teams slowed the game down slightly but did little to stop Seattle's momentum. Everett had just one shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the period. The only offensive opportunity for the Silvertips came by way of a power play at the halfway point. While Everett controlled the puck during this time, they could not get a shot on goal, with their only real attempt going well wide. The successful kill made it two straight penalties killed off without a shot allowed by the T-Birds.
Kozun had to work a bit as the period reached six minutes remaining. Seattle's goalie made a stellar glove save, followed by three more saves on the next shift. This series of saves was highlight by Kozun sprawling in the crease to glove a shot off a cross-ice pass. Kozun made six saves during this sequence.
Shot totals in the second period ended 11-6 Everett, though Seattle had the period's only goal to tie it up at one.
The home team sent the puck off the crossbar on the very first shift during a rush down the ice. Kozun was able to recover and stop a shot that came seconds later, keeping the game tied. The ice was slanted in the Silvertips' favor, however, and Everett continued to control the puck for the first few minutes of the final period.
Kozun made another spectacular save at 2:22. The Seattle goaltender leaped onto the puck as an Everett player skated through the crease, keeping the score even. Offsetting penalties from that player made it 4-on-4 for two minutes.
Troock scored to put Seattle ahead at 2:58. Troock started the rush by zipping a cross-ice pass to Barzal. Barzal carried the puck up and found a way to get the puck through three defenders to Troock, who then had time to deke the goaltender and score.
Everett almost tied the game again on the next shift. Kozun fell on the puck and the Silvertips continued to bang away at it, pushing it into the net. However, the officials had whistled the play dead already, ensuring that it remained 2-1 Seattle. The home team iced the puck not long after play resumed.
Seattle was penalized five minutes into the period to give Everett their fifth power play of the game. However, the Silvertips took a penalty with 22 seconds left to negate this advantage, making them 0 for 5 on the power play. Everett had just one shot on goal during the power play, giving them two shots in their last four man advantages.
Russell Maxwell added a third goal for Seattle at 8:45, just seconds after their power play expired. Theodore took the first shot from within the faceoff circle, which rebounded off of Lotz. Maxwell and Lipsbergs hacked away at the puck as Lotz tried to cover, with Maxwell eventually gaining control and flipping it over the goalie to make it 3-1.
The T-Birds' defensive play kept much of the rest of the game on the boards and in the neutral zone, as Everett was unable to create much offensively. The home team had a golden opportunity at 16:41 when Kozun was forced to go to the ice to try and stop the puck. An Everett player took control of the puck on the red line and threw it into the crease, but it went untouched and missed the net entirely.
Kozun also stopped a wraparound chance with 2:30 left in the game that nearly went in by kicking his leg out in time. Everett pulled their goalie just seconds later in an attempt to get the two goals they needed to tie the game. Seattle's defense held strong and only allowed two shots during the 6-on-5 Everett advantage to seal the victory.
First Round Schedule vs. Everett
Game 1 - @ Seattle 2, Everett 1
Game 2 - Seattle 3, @ Everett 1
Game 3 - Everett @ Seattle Tuesday, March 25, 7:05 pm
Game 4 - Seattle @ Everett Friday, March 28, 7:35 pm
Game 5 - Everett @ Seattle Saturday, March 29, 7:05 pm*
Game 6 - Seattle @ Everett Monday, March 31, 7:05 pm*
Game 7 - Everett @ Seattle Wednesday, April 2, 7:05 pm*
T-Birds single game playoff 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, Everett, Stadnyk 1 (Low), 3:51. Penalties - Delnov, Seattle (hooking), 11:39. Betker, Everett (holding), 16:34. Bear, Seattle (tripping), 17:23. Barzal, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:58. Juulsen, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:58. Hauf, Seattle (roughing), 19:18. Wardley, Seattle (roughing), 19:18. Khaira, Everett (roughing), 19:18. Winquist, Everett (cross-checking), 19:18.
Second period - 2, Seattle, Lipsbergs 1 (Henry, Theodore), 5:01 (pp). Penalties - Stadnyk, Everett (tripping), 3:14. Betker, Everett (cross-checking), 4:36. Hickman, Seattle (boarding), 10:06. Delnov, Seattle (hooking), 17:42.
Third period - 3, Seattle, Troock 1 (Barzal), 2:58. 4, Seattle, Maxwell 2 (Lipsbergs, Theodore), 8:45. Penalties - Lipsbergs, Seattle (cross-checking), 2:22. Jones, Everett (embellishment), 2:22. Smith, Seattle (tripping), 5:02. Khaira, Everett (tripping), 6:41.
Shots on goal - Seattle 5-6-5 16. Everett 9-11-7 27. Goalies - Seattle, Kozun 27 shots-26 saves (2-0), Everett, Lotz 16-13 (0-2). Power plays - Seattle 1-4; Everett 0-5. A - 4,150. Referee - Mike Campbell, Ian Croft. Linesmen - Zach Brooks, Ryan Gibbons.