Saturday, December 12, 2009

WHL: Pickard stops 54 shots; helps T-Birds trounce Tri City 5-1

(Photo Courtesy: Mick White/Kent Valley Sports)

The first time the Seattle Thunderbirds faced the Tri City Americans at home this season, goaltender Calvin Pickard played like gangbusters, stopping 57 of 57 shots to mark a 1-0 shutout win. That was back on October 2. Since then, Tri City has taken two from the T-Birds, including one that ended in a shootout. Last night, The Americans rolled back into ShoWare Center, looking for its third victory over Seattle. But they didn’t bargain on a team that’s been steadily improving, nearly 4,000 rabid fans… and Calvin Pickard. Pickard stopped 54 out of 55 shots, and a number of T-Birds stepped up to score, including two who recorded their first goals of the season.

Tri City got on the board first, just after 4 minutes into the first period. Neal Prokop scored, with help from Mason Wilgosh and Justin Feser. After that, the game turned into the T-Birds show. Mikhail Sentyurin scored his first goal this season, on a pass from Erik Fleming and Erik Bonsor. The first period went by pretty quickly, with Tri City nearly doubling Seattle in shots on goal (22-13), but Pickard and Tri City goaltender Drew Owsley stayed on their toes and both teams hit the locker rooms tied up 1-1.

The second period looked as though it would be a repeat of the first, with the Americans outshooting the T-Birds nearly 2 to 1, and Calvin Pickard blocking every shot. At the other end of the ice, Drew Owsley was playing just as hard and keeping T-Birds from scoring. More than half the period would go by before Seattle found a way past him. Prab Rai scored his 20th goal of the season at 13:05. Charles Wells and Jeremy Schappert assisted in this power play score. Scott Ramsay struck exactly four minutes later (at 17:05), notching his first goal in a T-Birds uniform, with help from Tyler Alos and Jeremy Schappert. The second period ended with Tri City still outshooting Seattle 18-9, but the T-Birds leading 2-1.

The third period got pretty chippy, as the Americans fought to tie things up. A number of penalties and one big fight involving several players set the tone for the final 20 minutes of regulation. Tyler Alos scored about 8 minutes in to put Seattle up 3-1. Jeremy Schappert was credited with the assist, for his third point of the game. About 3 minutes later, T-Birds Captain Lindsay Nielsen teamed up with Prab Rai and Charles Wells to put Seattle up 5-1. Sixty seconds after that, a brawl erupted on the ice. When the referees regained control, four players were slapped with various penalties: The Americans’ Jordan Messier was called for clipping, while Cody Castro received a 5 minute major for fighting. Zachary Yuen also got 5 minutes for fighting, as well as a game misconduct. T-Birds Brendan Rouse and Sena Acolatse received 5 minutes for fighting. Acolatse also got a game misconduct.

With 8 minutes left to play in regulation, Tri City pulled Drew Owsley out of net and replaced him with Brett Martyniuk, who kept the T-Birds from scoring again. But the damage was done, and when the clock ran out, T-Birds fans headed for the doors, talking about another exciting Seattle win and the amazing play by their sophomore goaltender. Final score: Seattle 5, Tri City 1. Total shots on goal: Tri City 55, Seattle 28. Three Stars of the Game: 1. Calvin Pickard 2. Jeremy Schappert 3. Tyler Alos.

The Seattle Thunderbirds drive up to Everett tonight to face the Silvertips at Comcast Arena. The puck drops at 7:05pm. For more information, click here.

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