Kennewick, WA- The game was tightly contested until the third, as three goals for the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-11-3-0, 41 pts) propelled Seattle to a 6-3 win over the Tri-City Americans (14-19-1-0, 29 pts) in front of 3,815 fans at the Toyota Center on Saturday night.
Less than two minutes into the first, Tri-City took a 1-0 lead. Jeff Rayman fired a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle top shelf for his first point as an American and for the lead. The lead was pushed to 2-0 on a power play goal from Michael Rasmussen, as he put home a loose puck in front of the net. Seattle got on the board on a breakaway goal from Ryan Gropp to cut the lead to 2-1 after the first period.
Seattle evened the game midway through the second, as Gropp scored his second of the game to knot the game at two. With less than two minutes remaining in the second, the Thunderbirds took the lead, as Nolan Volcan fired a wrist shot into the goal on the power play for a 3-2 lead going into the third period.
Early in the third, the Americans tied the game at three. Juuso Välimäki fired a shot from the blueline through traffic and into twine for the goal. Eight minutes into the third, Seattle took the lead once again, as Owen Seidel scored his first career WHL goal for a 4-3 lead. Nolan Volcan added his second of the night a minute later, followed by a Matthew Wedman goal to put Seattle up 6-3. Tri-City fought to get back into the game, but couldn’t get anything going as the Thunderbirds earned the win.
The Americans recorded 36 penalty minutes and scored 1-of-4 opportunities on the power play. Seattle spent 32 minutes in the penalty box and converted 1-of-6 power play chances.
Evan Sarthou got the start for Tri-City and made 24 saves in the loss, with Nicholas Sanders coming on in the third period and stopping one shot. Taz Burman started for Seattle and made three saves, with Logan Flodell relieving Burman in the first and stopping 19 shots in the win.
Tri-City will have some time off with the WHL winter break, and be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 27, against the Portland Winterhawks (16-16-1-0, 33 pts). Game time is at 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Tri-City earned a win in the last meeting, 6-4, at the Toyota Center. Listen to the game on NewsTalk 870, or watch the game through WHL Live or at Kimo’s, your Americans home away from home.
Jack in the Box Three Stars
1. Ryan Gropp, Seattle
2. Nolan Volcan, Seattle
3. Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City
WHL Box Score: CLICK HERE