Well, that was just not a well played game by the Thunderbirds last night. They never found their mojo. They were very flat most of the game, especially after Victoria scored the two quick goals midway through the first period.
No, it was Victoria that played a near flawless game. After the first couple of shifts, in which the T-birds did create some sustained offensive zone pressure, it was the Royals who took over the game. They set the tone by being physical. They clogged up the neutral zone and made it difficult for Seattle. They won most of the 50/50 battles for pucks. And when the T-birds made a mistake, and unfortunately there were many, the Royals pounced on them.
Seattle's special teams, which have been very good for them, especially as of late, couldn't produce and had an off night. Yes, there was that big penalty kill at the start of the second period, when Victoria skated with a two man advantage for well over a minute, but Seattle couldn't even take advantage of that and swing momentum their way. Right after that, Seattle got three successive power plays and ended up with a power failure, going oh-fer. The 'Birds were just 1-for-7 on the power play Tuesday and surrendered three power play goals to Victoria.
Despite not playing their best, Seattle still had life after Connor Sanvido's goal closed the gap to 4-2 midway through the third period. But no sooner had the T-birds scored when they took an awful bench minor for too many men on the ice and Victoria quickly scored to end the suspense.
Hopefully it was just one of those games and the T-birds bounce back, They need to with three pretty tough divisional games on the schedule to close out the pre-holiday portion of the schedule. Seattle has road games in Spokane and Portland this weekend (T-birds are a combined 2-8 against those two clubs so far this season) before returning home next Tuesday to face Tri-City at the ShoWare Center.
Seattle was three games above .500 after their recent four game winning streak. Now they sit just one game over .500 after back-to-back losses. If they want to finish better then .500 going into the holiday break, they'll have to win two of those three games. Even more disappointing, they've lost their last two home games by a combined score of 12-4. Additionally, they had a chance to leapfrog past Victoria in the Western Conference standings had they won last night. Instead, it was the Royals who served notice with a solid road win that put Seattle a little further back in their rearview mirror.