Playing catch-up was too much for the Kootenay Ice, as the Thunderbirds built on an early lead to win 7-4 on home ice in Seattle on Wednesday night.
The T-Birds led 3-1 going into the final period, which is when the bulk of the scoring happened, as Kootenay had it’s three-game win streak broken.
The Ice were dominant in different parts of the game, but Seattle’s goaltender, Brandon Glover, stood fast.
“We were getting pucks to the net but we needed more opportunities off of those,” said Ice assistant coach Chad Kletzel, “and when we do get an opportunity, making sure we bear down and put the puck in the net.”
Kootenay put 40 shots on Glover, who made 36 saves, while Mackenzie Skapski allowed six goals in 32 shots for the Ice.
Seattle capitalized once on the man-advantage in three opportunities, while Kootenay was denied on all three of theirs.
“When we had good shifts and played the system, we were very successful, but we need to make sure that we have more guys working as a unit,” said Kletzel. “We need everyone playing within the system and playing within the best of their ability to make sure we put ourselves in good situations to win games.”
The T-Birds had the best chance to score early, as Skapski bobbled a save, but Seattle couldn’t collect the puck and put it into the net.
However, the T-Birds struck first, when import Roberts Lipsbergs finished on a pretty three-way passing play seven minutes into the period.
The T-Birds doubled the lead three minutes later, when Connor Honey beat Skapski top corner stick side on a three-on-one rush into the zone.
However, the Ice had their chances, with Martin putting a backhand a hair wide of the post during a scramble in front of Glover.
But Kootenay did capitalize 30 seconds after Honey’s goal, when Zach McPhee beat Glove low stick side on a breakaway.
The T-Birds managed to score an early power play goal in the second period, as Riley Sheen tipped a shot by Skapski.
However, the Ice took control of the game for the latter half of the period, as the line of Collin Shirley, Sam Reinhart and Luke Philp caused a lot of misery in the offensive zone, but no goals resulted.
The third period was the decider of the contest, as the goal lamps flickered on seven separate times.
Jakub Prochazka scored his first career WHL goal, picking up a fat rebound off a shot from Levi Cable.
However, Seattle responded twice with two quick goals from Luke Lockhart that were scored roughly a minute and a half apart.
Ice defenceman Tanner Muth took a high sticking minor penalty, but Jordyn Boyd managed to score shorthanded after working some magic with Jaedon Descheneau.
Down 5-3, the Ice kept trying to play catch-up, but it was the T-Birds who scored, off a goal from Justin Hickman, to restore a three-goal lead with five minutes to go.
Boyd got his second of the night with two minutes left in the game, but Alexander Delanov potted the empty netter.
The Ice continue their swing through the U.S division this weekend, with stops in Portland on Friday and Everett on Saturday.