Kent, WA – The Tri-City Americans (20-21-2-2, 44 pts.) fell behind 1:23 into the game and never recovered, as the Seattle Thunderbirds (27-14-2-3, 59 pts.) picked up the 4-0 victory Friday night at the ShoWare Center.
It was the third time this season, that the Americans have been shut out, with the previous two coming against the Everett Silvertips. Even with the loss, the Americans remain four points clear for the eighth and final playoff spot, after the Prince George Cougars suffered a loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings earlier in the day.
Evan Sarthou got the start for the Americans, making 27 saves on the night, while his counterpart, Taran Kozun, picked up his second shutout in as many games following a 26-save effort.
The Americans got off to a rocky start, after the Thunderbirds scored on its first shot of the game. Shea Theodore carried the puck over the blue line and fed it across to Russell Maxwell, who wristed it past Sarthou for his first goal as a Thunderbird.
The Americans shook off the rough start, and swung momentum back its way on the very next shift, with several good chances on Kozun. But, Tri-City was unable to beat the newly acquired Thunderbird net minder.
The Americans got four consecutive opportunities with the man advantage between the 16:09 mark of the first period and the 11:03 mark of the second period. But, the extra man would not lead to any goals.
The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead at 8:22 of the third period, as Sam Mckechnie put the loose puck past Sarthou, after the 16-year-old goaltender had made the initial save.
The Thunderbirds extended its lead at 13:05 of the third period, after a Parker Wotherspoon penalty put the Americans short handed. Roberts Lipsbergs deflected the puck past Sarthou to put Seattle up 3-0 with his 26th goal of the season.
Jaimen Yakubowski added one more goal at the 16:06 mark, capping off a three-goal third period for the Thunderbirds, that gave the team its fifth consecutive victory.
The Americans return home to the Toyota Center for a meeting against the rival Spokane Chiefs (27-13-2-2, 58 pts) tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. before concluding the weekend on Sunday evening against the Vancouver Giants (23-15-5-3, 54 pts.). Tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s game at the Toyota Center are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer outlets, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Taran Kozun, Seattle
2) Sam Mckechnie, Seattle
3) Shea Theodore, Seattle