Kent, WA- Tri-City wanted to start the final week of the season on a positive note.
The Americans were unable to do that as the Seattle Thunderbirds (24-37-7-2, 57 pts) scored three goals in the first and four in the third, helping them clinch a playoff spot and launching them to an 8-3 win over the Tri-City Americans (40-25-1-3, 84 pts) at the ShoWare Center.
With the loss and Spokane win, Spokane takes a two point lead in the standings heading into the home-and-home series between the two teams.
Tri-City and Seattle end their season series with the Americans winning five of the nine meetings.
Seattle scored first on the power play. Luke Lockhart was able to score 1:18 into the game to give the Thunderbirds an early 1-0 lead. Justin Feser tied the game just over five minutes into the first. Seattle scored two shorthanded goals on the same Americans power play. Lockhart scored his second of the game and Seth Swenson scored on a breakaway 50 seconds later, beating Troy Trombley to increase the lead to 3-1. Malte Strömwall scored the fifth and final goal of the period with 18 seconds left in the first, firing a shot from the slot into the back of the net to make it 3-2 after one period.
Roberts Lipsbergs scored just over a minute into the second, squeaking the puck underneath Trombley to make it 4-2 Seattle. The Thunderbirds outshot the Americans 14-9 in the period and carried the momentum heading into the third period.
The Thunderbirds pulled away from the Americans in the third period. It started 1:03 into the period as Shea Theodore fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle past Trombley to make it 5-2. Adam Kambeitz put a rebound into the net eight minutes into the period to increase the lead to four and Connor Sanvido scored 16 seconds later to make it 7-2. Tri-City interrupted the Seattle scoring streak as Lucas Nickles fired a shot while spinning around, getting the puck past Seattle goaltender Danny Mumaugh to cut the lead back to four. Connor Honey put the nail in the coffin, hitting a slap shot from the right faceoff circle top shelf to finish off the victory for Seattle.
Trombley and Luke Lee-Knight combined for 33 saves in the loss while Mumaugh stopped 28 shots in the win.
The Americans will begin a crucial home-and-home series against the Spokane Chiefs (42-25-2-0, 86 pts) on Friday, March 15 in the Veterans Memorial Arena. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Each team has won five games in the 10 game series. Spokane has a two point lead for home ice advantage in the first round playoff series between the Americans and Chiefs. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. WHL Live will stream the game online starting at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Luke Lockhart, Seattle
2. Roberts Lipsbergs, Seattle
3. Danny Mumaugh, Seattle