T-Birds Kill Off Silvertips
KENT, Wash. –The Seattle Thunderbirds killed off eight straight penalties and defeated the Everett Silvertips, 4-1, Saturday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Goaltender Scott Ratzlaff led the way with a 42-save performance. The win snapped the T-Birds two game losing streak. Seattle’s busy stretch of action continues with four games in five days next week. First up is a stop Tuesday in Kennewick to take on the Tri-City Americans at the Toyota Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Head coach Matt O’Dette called it a complete team effort. “We showed our character and our resiliency in the game tonight,” he said. “I thought every guy chipped in something. It takes twenty guys over sixty minutes to win a hockey a hockey game and we got that.”
The game started off well for Seattle (9-7-1-0), taking a 2-0 lead on goals from Antonio Martorana at 6:37 and Sawyer Mynio at 15:06 of the opening period. Everett cut the T-Birds lead in half with a Beau Courtney goal less than a minute later.
Seattle’s only power play opportunity of the game came at the end of the first, and they made the most of it with Eric Alarie tipping home a Mynio shot with just three seconds left.
“Continuity is important on the power play,” explained O’Dette. “You need continuity and reps on the power play and with (Jordan) Gustafson coming back we’ve been able to keep that unit the same and they’re starting to get some chemistry.”
The Thunderbirds parade to the penalty box began four minutes into the second period. Six of Everett’s eight power plays came in the second stanza but Seattle’s penalty killers, including Gustafson. were up to the task.
“I just think killing off all those penalties was really good for our team. A lot of practice that some guys might not normally get,” remarked the team captain. “We had all sorts of guys in the box so not everybody who normally kills got a chance to kill tonight so it was great for our team and we’re definitely going to build off it.”
But leading the way was Ratzlaff, who made seventeen saves in the second period alone and thirty over the final two periods. “It gets you into the game,” he said of facing that many shots. “They were shooting everything and it’s important to stay dialed in through that.” He said he also fed off the fans who were behind him on every stop. “You make a nice save and the fans are there to cheer you on. I appreciate all the fans. It definitely helps.”
The T-Birds killed off two more Silvertips power plays in the third period then Coster Dunn finished them off by scoring his fourth of the season into an empty net with just over a minute remaining.
The Thunderbirds were a perfect 11 of 11 on the penalty kill in two games against Everett this weekend. As a result, Seattle is first in the WHL on the penalty kill at 88.9%.
Ratzlaff stopped 102 of 106 shots in three games this week.
The T-Birds now have power play goals in four straight games and have improved their power play success rate to 19.6% on the season.