With a playoff spot on the line, the intensity in Friday's Seattle-Everett matchup was expected to resemble that of a postseason game. Instead, the Thunderbirds played...
EVERETT — With a playoff spot on the line, the intensity in Friday’s Seattle-Everett matchup was expected to resemble that of a postseason game.
Instead, the Thunderbirds played like a team that has missed the Western Hockey League playoffs two years in a row — and is in danger of missing again after a lackluster 4-0 loss to the Silvertips.
With the win, the Silvertips (18-37-1-8) moved into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 45 points. The T-birds (21-40-1-1), who have 44 points, have nine games left in the regular season — including two at home against Everett, which has eight left.
Kent Simpson stopped 25 shots for the Silvertips to pick up his first shutout of the season and fifth of his career.
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So where was the sense of urgency for the T-birds, who had just five shots on goal in the first period?
“I thought we played nervous, tentative,” Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “Some guys played with some passion in this type of environment and some guys didn’t.”
With 7,407 in attendance in Everett, coach Mark Ferner considered it a must-win for his team heading down to the wire.
“This was one we definitely felt we needed,” Ferner said. “We’ve been playing some good hockey and stuck to our game plan. We just played a real simple, straight-line game.”
Asked if Everett played harder than Seattle, Ferner chose to talk only about his own team.
“I thought our kids played hard,” he said. “We care about how we play, not so much who we play.”
Seattle mistakes led to three of Everett’s four goals, a fact not lost on Konowalchuk.
“They didn’t make any big mistakes,” he said. “They played a sound game. They were more aggressive on the power play and that was the difference.”
Everett got a goal from Josh Winquist in the first period, then put the game away with goals from Josh Birkholz, Reid Petryk and Ryan Murray in the second.