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T-Birds Shoot Down Rockets For Four Game Win Streak

Marissa Baecker

Neuls has two goals in 6-4 win over Kelowna

KELOWNA, BC, January 5, 2018 — Donovan Neuls scored two goals Friday night at Prospera Place to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 6-4 win over the Kelowna Rockets.

The T-Birds have a four-game win streak and have points in their last seven games. The T-Birds play the Spokane Chiefs Saturday at 7:05pm at accesso ShoWare Center.

Matthew Wedman, Zack Andrusiak and Jarret Tyszka each had two assists in the game.

Seattle goalie Liam Hughes had 26 save and his record is now 7-4-1-0 with the win.

Seattle (19-14-4-1) jumped out an early 1-0 lead 1:36 into the game. Wedman won a puck battle along the right boards and got the puck to Aaron Hyman at the right point. Hyman took a wrist shot with traffic in front of Kelowna goalie James Porter. Hyman’s shot beat a screened Porter on the glove side.

The T-Birds extended the lead to 2-0 at 13:52 of the first. Noah Philp came into the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Dillon Hamaliuk. Philp whiffed on his first pass attempt to Hamaliuk but got the loose puck just outside the crease. Philp crossed the puck through the crease to Hamaliuk at the back door. Hamaliuk pounded the puck into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

Kelowna (24-12-2-1) got on the board at 16:11 of the first on a goal from Leif Mattson. Nolan Foote had the only assist.

Seattle outshot Kelowna 7-6 in the first period.

Donovan Neuls gave the T-Birds a 3-1 lead at 7:23 of the second period with a power-play goal. Tyszka passed the puck from center ice to Neuls in the right circle. Neuls one-timed Tyszka’s pass and beat Porter on the blocker side for his 10th goal of the season.

Gordie Ballhorn cut the T-Birds lead to one goal at 8:25 of the second on the power play. James Hilsendager and Jack Cowell had the assists.

The Rockets tied the game 3-3 at 10:10 of the third on a goal from Kyle Topping. Conner Bruggen-Cate had the only assist.

Kelowna took a 4-3 lead at 17;16 of the second when Carsen Twarnyski scored. Kole Lind and Foote had the assists.

The T-Birds came right back and tied the game 4-4 just over a minute after Kelowna’s fourth goal. Sami Moilanen came out from behind the net and centered the puck to Andrusiak. Andrusiak got a shot off and then Neuls backhanded the rebound at Porter. Neuls got his own rebound and put the puck over a sprawling Porter for his second goal of the night.

Both teams had 11 shots in the second period and the T-Birds led 18-17 in shots heading into the second intermission.

Nolan Volcan put the T-Birds in front for good at 8:59 of the third period. Tyszka took a wrist shot from the left point that Volcan tipped past Porter for his 17th goal of the season. Wedman had the second assist. The goal by Volcan is a career high for the left wing. He had 16 goals the previous two seasons.

Austin Strand added an insurance goal at 12:09 of the third. Andrusiak passed the puck to Strand who curled into the slot. Strand took a hard wrist shot that beat Porter over the glove for his 13th goal of the season.

The Rockets pulled Porter with 2:20 left in the game for an extra attacker. Ottenbreit was called for delay of game just 25 seconds later to give Kelowna a six-on-four power play.

Kelowna’s Jack Cowell put the puck into the net with 44 seconds left in the game. The goal light came on and the fans in Prospera Place came to their feet. But as the Rockets were celebrating the referees waved the goal off for too many men on the ice. There were clearly seven skaters on the ice when Cowell’s shot went in the Seattle net.

Kelowna outshot Seattle 13-9 in the third period and 30-27 in the game.

Porter is now 16-6-2-0 after making 21 saves on 27 shots.

T-Birds single game tickets for the 2017-18 season are currently on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the accesso ShoWare Center box office.

Season Tickets for the WHL Champion T-Birds 2017-18 season are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period – 1, Seattle, Hyman 1 (Wedman), 1:36. 2, Seattle, Hamaliuk 7 (Philp), 13:52. 3, Kelowna, Mattson 11 (Foote), 16:11. Penalties – MacLean, Sea (hooking), 3:22. MacLean, Sea (interference), 10:12.

Second period – 4, Seattle, Neuls 10 (Tyszka, Harsch), 7;23 (pp). 5, Kelowna, Ballhorn 3 (Hilsendager, Cowell), 8:25 (pp). 6, Kelowna, Topping 15 (Bruggen-Cate), 10:10. 7, Kelowna, Twarynski 27 (Lind, Foote), 17:16. 8, Seattle, Neuls 11 (Andrusiak, Moilanen), 18:19. Penalties – Bruggen-Cate, Kel (tripping), 6:14. Bargar, Sea (tripping), 7:47. Ottenbreit, Sea (tripping), 11:25.

Third period – 9, Seattle, Volcan 17 (Tyszka, Wedman), 8:59. 10, Seattle, Strand 13 (Andrusiak), 12:09. Penalties – Harsch, Sea (hooking), 5:47. Wedman, Sea (holding), 12:41. Hilsendager, Kel (interference), 12:41. Strand, Sea (tripping), 14:29. Ottenbreit, Sea (delay of game), 18:05. Bench, Kel (too many men-served by Brennan), 19:16.

Shots on goal – Seattle 7-11-9 27, Kelowna 6-11-13 30. Goalies – Seattle, Hughes 30 shots-26 saves (7-4-0-1); Kelowna, Porter 27-21 (16-6-2-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-1; Kelowna 1-7. A – 5,230. Referees – Stephen Campbell, Adam Griffiths. Linesmen – Kevin Crowell, Tim Plamondon.

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