T-Birds Beaten by Blazers
KAMLOOPS, B.C. –Limited to just twenty shots on goal, the Seattle Thunderbirds fell to the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1, Wednesday at the Sandman Centre. With the loss the Thunderbirds missed an opportunity to close within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Thunderbirds now return home Friday to host the Vancouver Giants at the accesso ShoWare Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Despite dressing only seventeen skaters and missing five regulars from the lineup, Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette didn’t sugarcoat his team’s performance. “Terrible game,” he said afterwards. “No other way around it. Injuries aside, we need a better effort than that.”
A soft back pass in the defensive zone led the T-Birds losing control of the puck and that would lead to Kamloops’ first goal as Ashton Ferster redirected a shot from the point at 7:18 of the first period.
“Execution wasn’t there, work ethic wasn’t there,” explained O’Dette. “There are no easy games in this league. If we’re going into a game thinking we can beat teams without the effort, that’s just not going to happen. Every win we’ve had this season, we’ve had to work extremely hard for, so that kind of performance and effort is unacceptable.”
Kamloops extended their advantage with a power play goal at 14:11 mark of the second period. But Seattle responded with Kazden Mathies scoring his seventh goal of the season. It gave Seattle momentum over the final four minutes of the period, as they registered the last six shots.
Any momentum gained though was lost when they took two penalties in the first four minutes of period three. “Our discipline wasn’t good,” remarked O’Dette. “We’re trying to get our footing and we’re taking retaliatory penalties, getting frustrated and parading to the box.”
The Blazers added to their lead with a Harrison Brunicke 4-on-4 goal at 5:01. Seattle had a chance to cut into the deficit when they were awarded a two-man advantage with just over six minutes left. Instead, they turned the puck over leading to an Emmit Finnie shorthanded breakaway goal.
“It (the 5-on-3 power play) was a good opportunity,” said O’Dette. “Instead, it was a reflection of the game for us. Just not sharp, not focused enough and just not executing.”
In addition to the home game Friday, Seattle travels to Portland Saturday to play the Winterhawks.
This was Seattle’s first game at the Sandman Centre since last spring’s Memorial Cup.
Seattle continues to play shorthanded. Seattle dressed just seventeen skaters in Kamloops. Sam Popowich, who played and scored at home Sunday, was out of the lineup again. He joined Jordan Gustafson, Hyde Davidson, Coster Dunn and Simon Lovsin on the sidelines.
Ashton Cumby returned to the lineup after a brief illness and Kaleb Hartmann was back after serving a one game suspension.