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T-Birds Fall in Overtime

October 16, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Seattle Thunderbirds News Release

KENT, WA. - Ben Hemmerling's second goal of the night was the difference as the Everett Silvertips defeated the Thunderbirds, 5-4, in overtime Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center.  The two teams will face each other again Saturday at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.  Game time is 6:05 p.m.

Seattle Head Coach Matt O'Dette liked many parts of his team's game but said there are still areas that need to be cleaned up.  Number one on his list is the amount of power plays his team is giving opponents. The T-Birds entered the game allowing nearly six per game. Against Everett it was eight.  While the T-Birds were able to kill off seven of them, it was far too many.  "These are emotional games against our rivals and we need to do a better job of channeling it the right way, controlling our emotion and playing with more composure."

The nine goals scored in this back-and-forth battle were a little out of character for the rivalry.  Games between these two teams are usually low scoring. Seattle got on the board first thanks to their power play.  Jordan Gustafson snapped home his first of the season midway through the opening period with Henrik Rybinski and Jared Davidson earning the assists.

Gustafson said his goal was the result of a team effort.  "It was a big rebound out to me and I just put it home but it was a really good play all around by the power play."

The Thunderbirds were the victims of an unfortunate carom on Everett's fist goal.  T-Birds goalie Thomas Milic went behind his net, anticipating the puck on a hard rim around the boards by the Silvertips.  Instead the puck hit something on the boards and kicked out in front of the vacant Seattle net and Hemmerling tapped it home.

O'Dette said it changed the complexion of the game.  "I thought we had momentum in our favor until that weird bounce took away it away a little bit."  But O'Dette said missed chances earlier in the period were just as costly.  "I would have liked to have seen a couple of those chances go to the back of the net. Their goalie played well there, especially early."

Everett would take the lead on a Hunter Campbell goal with just over a minute left in the first period.

Seattle regained the advantage when they scored on their first two shots of the second period.  Conner Roulette scored his third of the season at 6:59, assisted by Nico Myatovic.  Roulette said after missing on a couple of chances in the first period he was ready to bury this one.  "We had a little puck battle there.  I just walked out.  I think it was one of the better shots (I've taken), I'm not quite the shooter most times.  I think I had it coming after missing those few."

O'Dette is encouraged by Roulette's early season success.  "He's dangerous out there, he's creating offense.  It's still a work in progress with the 200-foot game but he knows how to take calculated risks and he's off to a good start offensively."

The Thunderbirds then took the lead back when Reid Schaefer scored on a shorthanded breakaway after a steal and stretch pass at center ice from Ryan Gottfried.  But a few minutes later Lucas Ciona was assessed a five-minute charging major.  Everett's Austin Roest would convert on the power play to get the game even at 3-3 heading into the second intermission.

Four minutes into the third period Seattle would take the lead back when Leon Okonkwo-Prada flung a puck on net from the point that beat Silvertips goalie Braden Holt through a screen.  For Okonkwo-Prada, it was his first Western Hockey League goal.

The T-Birds had a chance to extend their lead on the power play with less than seven minutes to play. Instead, they coughed the puck up behind their own net leading to a game tying, shorthanded goal from Everett's Alex Swetlikoff.  In overtime Hemmerling scored on his own rebound to give the Silvertips the win.


Reid Schaefer didn't have a goal through his first 25-games as a Thunderbird, he now has three in his last four games, including the T-Birds first shorthanded goal of the season.

Roulette and Gustafson worked well together, playing on a line that also features Myatovic.  Gustafson said they have developed some chemistry. "He's a really good player. He finds players open areas.  And I can feed him the puck and he does the same for me, so we kind of work off each other.

After being held off the scoresheet opening night, Roulette has now scored a goal in three straight games.  "You know there going to be coming and you just have to be ready for those opportunities."

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