Everett, Washington. — Henrik Rybinski scored once and added an assist, but the Seattle Thunderbirds came close to losing a 4-2 decision to the Everett Silvertips at Angel of the Winds Arena on Sunday. The shorthanded T-Birds finished a four-game streak in seven days by a 2-1-0-1 mark, playing each game with just 16 players. They are now hoping to bring back players missing from the lineup before returning to action next Friday. They host the Prince George Cougars at 7:05 p.m. at the accesso ShoWare Center
It was the fifth time this season that the T-Birds have missed an away win in Everett. “It’s frustrating that we couldn’t break through in that building,” said T-Birds head coach Matt O’Dette, who said the effort was there. “Everyone played extremely hard and left everything on the ice. We play like that most nights, we’ll be on the right side of things.”
Everett scored two goals in the first half, both from Jacob Wright. His first came on the power play at 13:39 and three minutes later he leveled from a rebound.
Seattle (23-11-4-1) extended the Silvertips lead with a powerplay goal from Rybinski at 14:51 of the second period. The goal was his 15thth of the season, assisted by Jared Davidson and Lucas Ciona.
The T-Birds came into play strongly in the third period, knocking out Everett 17-8. Midway through the third half, they had a chance to level the game 5v4, but went away empty-handed. Moments later, Everett scored what turned out to be the game winner, off Aidan Sutter’s stick.
“We needed a little more out of that power play,” said O’Dette. “Their PK did a good job but we have to do better in this situation. I thought we had a couple of chances to score that we missed and they obviously scored right after.”
The Thunderbirds showed no surrender, retiring 3-2 to within a goal thanks to Reid Schaefer’s 16th of the season at 12:18 p.m. Rybinski and Kevin Korchinski earn the assists.
O’Dette liked his team’s resilience as he came back to make it a one-goal game. “The reaction afterwards, the push at the end. Proud of the achievement.”
Seattle pulled goaltender Thomas Milic late for the extra skater who was out for the equalizer, but Jackson Berezowski iced it for Everett when he hit the empty net with seven seconds left.
While he wanted more points over the weekend, O’Dette said his team showed a lot of heart in a difficult situation. “The week and the weekend were long again. The guys still had juice in the tank and they emptied the tanks. It’s not often that this team doesn’t show up. It’s a resilient group with a lot of character. I don’t know if a group can play harder.”
O’Dette says that if they stick to those efforts, their time will come. “Get some guys healthy and it’ll turn around.”
Seattle has another busy weekend ahead. Not only do they play Prince George on Friday, but they also welcome the Vancouver Giants to town on Saturday. They then take to the streets next Sunday when they travel to Langley, BC to face the Giants at the Langley Events Centre.
The game stalled after just twelve seconds when Seattle’s Ciona collided with Everett’s Johnny Lambos behind the Silvertips’ net. Lambos left the ice on a stretcher. He did not return to the game, instead appearing after the game with his teammates.
Rybinski is on a four-game scoring streak and has scored five goals in that span. Davidson has accumulated points in four straight games, recording five goals and four assists. Korchinski has at least one assist in his last four games.
Despite all the issues they faced (Covid, postponements, travel and weather), the Thunderbirds ended the month of January with a winning record, posting a 4-2-1-1 mark. Seattle now opens February with five straight games against BC Division opponents.
Full box score: WHL Network