KENT, February 16, 2014 - The Seattle Thunderbirds fell 6-4 to the Prince George Cougars the day after the T-Birds clinched a playoff berth. Seattle is now 37-18-2-3 after going 2-1-0-0 over a three-game weekend. Prince George's record stands at 25-29-3-5, two points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Danny Mumaugh was in net for Seattle to start, but left the game after stopping 19 of 23. Mumaugh took the loss, making his record 14-10-2-3. Taran Kozun relieved him and stopped three of five shots over 32 minutes. Adam Beukeboom made the start for Prince George but was pulled in favor of Ty Edmonds after Beukeboom gave up three goals on Seattle's first nine shots. Edmonds stopped 39 of 40 shots and got the win. His record now stands at 17-16-2-4.
Prince George opened up with a strong chance in the game's first five minutes. The Cougars had a shot from near the boards that made it through heavy traffic in front. Mumaugh was able to track the puck well enough to squeeze it between his pads and cover up, letting the T-Birds get back on the attack.
Seattle took the lead at 5:12 on a Jaimen Yakubowski goal. After Sam McKechnie's shot from the faceoff dot bounced off of Beukeboom's chest, Yakubowski slapped it out of the air with his stick and into the net. The goal was reviewed before it was officially determined that Yakubowski did not play it with a high stick, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead. McKechnie and Russell Maxwell assisted on the goal.
Playing with the lead, Alexander Delnov widened the gap to two goals on the very next shift. Delnov worked the puck through Beukeboom's pads after a few jabs, getting his 24th goal of the season at 6:04. Ryan Gropp and Branden Troock had the assists.
The offensive onslaught continued with Seattle's third goal at 6:48. Calvin Spencer took a slap shot from high in the zone just before a line change, only to see the shot trickle through Beukeboom's pads. Adam Henry had the only assist on the goal that ended Beukeboom's night as Ty Edmonds replaced him in goal.
Mumaugh was put to work soon thereafter as the Cougars got back on the attack. The Seattle goalie stopped a breakaway chance only to have the visitors score their first goal later in the play. Todd Fiddler threw the puck across the crease where Troy Bourke was able to grab it and shoot it into the back of the net before Mumaugh could push himself across the crease. Sam Ruopp had the secondary assist on Bourke's goal at 8:53.
The game's first power play went to Prince George at 11:00. While the visitors were able to get extended pressure for much of the penalty, Seattle stayed strong and killed it off, keeping the score 3-1 in their favor. The T-Birds' first pressure since their goal-scoring streak gave them a power play as well. It was a fruitless two minutes, and no scoring resulted.
Fiddler scored Prince George's second goal with 26 seconds left in the first period. An errant pass gave the 20-year-old a breakaway chance that he potted after a few dekes to get past Mumaugh.
Seattle trailed 18-15 in shots after one, but led faceoffs 13-9 and had a three-goals-to-two advantage.
The T-Birds came out of the intermission with energy, narrowly missing a fourth goal. Mathew Barzal was in front when the puck made its way there and tipped it toward goal, but it was too high and went over the crossbar safely. A penalty followed on the ensuing rush, giving the Cougars their second power play, which went scoreless.
Troock ripped the puck off the bottom of the crossbar on a rush after even strength hockey returned. The winger beat Prince George's defenseman on the far boards and shot the puck over Edmonds' shoulder, but couldn't get the score.
The Cougars took advantage of this near miss and tied the game at 4:56. A Seattle defenseman turned the puck over in front of Mumaugh, letting Zach Pochiro take his time to shoot it through Mumaugh's pads to make it 3-3.
Mumaugh's night ended a minute later when Jansen Harkins worked around the defense and threw the puck on net as Evan Wardley pushed him to the ice. The puck made its way past Mumaugh at 5:48. Kozun replaced Mumaugh in goal.
Kozun was immediately tested, with the visitors getting their third power play of the game at 6:20. McKechnie was able to create a shorthanded chance and almost had a second opportunity later in the penalty. Even so, the Cougars were able to score with 36 seconds left in their power play. Klarc Wilson scored at 7:45, with Bourke and Pochiro assisting.
The home team was almost able to add a fourth goal in the early seconds of their second power play when Edmonds was left sprawled across the crease with the puck loose in front. Edmonds was able to find it with his glove and cover before any T-Bird could get to it, and the game remained 5-3.
Prince George struck again at 14:07, this time with Pochiro scoring. Wilson was knocked off the puck as he skated into the zone. Pochiro collected it and whirled around and shot as he was checked, beating Kozun stick-side for Prince George's sixth goal.
Troock had his second shot off the crossbar as the period wound to a close. On the power play for the fifth time, the T-Birds got the puck to Troock deep in the slot, where he once again beat Edmonds only to have it rebound off the goal and out. Shea Theodore followed suit with a shot in the last five seconds, which rose over Edmonds' right pad and bounced off the post.
Seattle outshot Prince George 16-7 in the second despite being outscored 4-0 in the period. Faceoffs were 10-4 in the T-Birds' favor.
Up-and-down hockey opened the third period, with neither team able to sustain pressure. An icing call five minutes in gave Seattle a chance, but they were denied by Edmonds twice. The next rush saw the T-Birds able to throw the puck in front as Edmonds tried to return to the crease, but Prince George's defensemen cleared it away in time. The Cougars did not record a shot on goal for the first 13 minutes of the period.
Yakubowski cut the deficit to two goals at 7:45. McKechnie was able to find Yakubowski in the neutral zone, where the winger skated forward for a breakaway chance he backhanded over Edmonds' shoulder for his second goal of the night. McKechnie and Henry had the assists on the goal that made it 6-4.
Seattle pulled their goalie with 3:15 left in the game as they attempted to make up a two-goal deficit. The home team took a penalty after a chase for the puck ended in a big hit, making it 5-on-5 with Kozun off the ice. Wilson narrowly missed an empty-net goal for the visitors, pushing the puck off the post. The T-Birds responded with what was almost a breakaway until the puck took an unfortunate bounce over Barzal's stick. Seattle took another penalty with 49 seconds left in the game, once again stopping an empty-net opportunity. The game concluded with Prince George on a 5-on-3 power play.
Shots in the final frame were 18-3 in Seattle's favor. Faceoffs also favored the T-Birds 12-10.
Next on the docket for Seattle is a trip to Everett to take on the Silvertips on Friday at 7:35 pm. The T-Birds host the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday at 6:05 pm the next day.
T-Birds single game tickets for the 2013-14 season 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.
T-Birds season tickets are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.
First period - 1, Seattle, Yakubowski 8 (McKechnie, Maxwell), 5:12. 2, Seattle, Delnov 24 (Gropp, Troock), 6:04. 3, Seattle, Spencer 3 (Henry), 6:48. 4, Prince George, Bourke 25 (Fiddler, Ruopp), 8:53. 5, Prince George, Fiddler 39 (Harkins), 19:34. Penalties - Maxwell, Seattle (interference), 11:00. Grewal, Prince George (tripping), 14:58.
Second period - 6, Prince George, Pochiro 25 (unassisted), 4:56. 7, Prince George, Harkins 9 (Wilson, Tomchuk), 5:48. 8, Prince George, Wilson 24 (Bourke, Pochiro), 7:45 (pp). 9, Prince George, Pochiro 26 (Bourke), 14:07. Penalties - Wardley, Seattle (elbowing), 1:56. Delnov, Seattle (tripping), 6:20. Olson, Prince George (closing hand on the puck), 8:36. Ruopp, Prince George (elbowing), 11:43. Wilson, Prince George (tripping), 14:29. Bourke, Prince George (elbowing), 18:43.
Third period - 10, Seattle, Yakubowski 9 (McKechnie, Henry), 7:45. Penalties - Theodore, Seattle (checking from behind), 17:46. Bear, Seattle (holding), 19:11. Henry, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:11. Henry, Seattle (10-minute misconduct), 19:11.
Shots on goal - Seattle 15-16-18 49, Prince George 18-7-3 28. Goalies - Seattle, Mumaugh 23 shots-19 saves (14-10-2-3), Kozun 5-3 (16-21-2-1); Prince George, Beukeboom 9-6 (5-5-0-0), Edmonds 40-39 (17-16-2-4). Power plays - Seattle 0-5; Prince George 1-4. A - 5,014. Referees - Ian Croft, Mark Pearce. Linesmen - Ryan Gibbons, Bevan Mills.