With the first hat trick of his Western Hockey League career, Roberts Lipsbergs led the host Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips.
KENT — With a zigzag of stitches decorating his chin and a deep gash dripping blood above his right eye, Roberts Lipsbergs of the Seattle Thunderbirds looked like a hockey player Tuesday night.
With the first hat trick of his Western Hockey League career, Lipsbergs cemented his arrival as a scorer during a 5-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips.
A native of Latvia who also speaks Russian and is rapidly learning English, Lipsbergs has nine goals this season, including seven goals and four assists in his last six games playing on a line with Russian Alexander Delnov and Connor Honey.
“The line is good, we know each other and know where we’re going to skate,” Lipsbergs said. “I know where I can give a pass to my linemates. It’s a lot of fun now.”
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Honey, a Canadian, had two assists and is enjoying playing on a line with Lipsbergs and Delnov.
“I love playing with those Euros,” Honey said. “When you are playing with two great players, it’s kind of hard not to be part of a good line.”
Lipsbergs, who last had a hat trick playing for Latvia against Germany in the World U-18 tournament, is playing with increased confidence, according to Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk.
“He’s a tough kid,” Konowalchuk said. “One of the first things I noticed about him was that he got hit hard and just kept playing.”
Lipsbergs’ hat trick was the first for a Seattle player since Marcel Noebels did it Feb. 27, 2011.
After two goals by Lipsbergs and one by Jesse Forsberg gave Seattle a 3-0 lead, Everett stormed back in the second period to tie the score on goals by Kohl Bauml, Josh Winquist and Carson Stadnyk. Lipsbergs’ third goal regained the lead and Justin Hickman added an insurance goal.
“We had some casual moments,” Konowalchuk said of the three straight Everett goals. “You can’t have those. It showed good resiliency for us to come back hard in the third period.”