Ams might need bearhug after 8-4 loss to Thunderbirds

December 6, 2012 

When Parker Bowles was a young boy, his favorite stuffed animal was a black-and-white dog named Hat Trick.

Thursday night, Bowles got to play Santa Claus, scoring the first goal for the Tri-City Americans that brought down a flurry of 2,649 stuffed animals. But that would be the lone highlight in an 8-4 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds before an announced crowd of 4,518 at the Toyota Center.

Connor Sanvido had two goals and two assists, and Seth Swenson had two goals as the Thunderbirds ended a 22-game skid at the Toyota Center. Brendan Rouse added three assists, and Brandon Glover had 34 saves for the Thunderbirds, who hadn’t won a regular-season game in Kennewick since Jan. 27, 2008.

“They were opportunistic with their chances,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. “We gave them pretty much everything on a platter. Decisions that we made, sometimes you can get away with, tonight we didn’t.”

The Thunderbirds (15-13-1-0, 31 points) extended their winning streak to three games with the victory and are 2-0 against Tri-City this season.

“It was a good win,” Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “We played well for two periods. The first was not so good, but in the second and third, we didn’t accept what happened in the first. Last year was a long year. This is a new season. They are working hard, and it’s fun to see them have success.”

The loss also ended the Americans’ perfect record on Teddy Bear Toss night. Tri-City (17-11-1-1, 36 points) now is 10-1-0-0 with one tie over the last 12 seasons.

“It was a roller coaster tonight,” said Bowles, who has eight goals this season. “We got the goal, got fired up and got another one. We just couldn’t keep it up.”

Seattle trailed 2-1 after the first period, then found itself in a 4-2 hole midway through the second after Tri-City’s Malte Strömwall and Beau McCue scored to pad the Americans’ lead.

But the Thunderbirds, who are off to their best start in several years, reeled off three goals in a span of 2:04 to take a 5-4 lead in a crazy finish to the second period.

Swenson scored his second of the night at 16:38, followed by Roberts Lipsbergs on the power play at 18:08 and Sanvido at 18:42. The Thunderbirds continued their hot streak in the third, scoring three more goals — by Alexander Delnov, Riley Sheen and Sanvido.

“The bus was late getting here, and we got off to a slow start,” said Sanvido, who noted there was snow on the pass. “But we picked it up, started clicking and things were working. Our team is playing good — we are all on board.”

The Thunderbirds were the first to find the net as Swenson beat Eric Comrie blocker side at 8:55 of the first period.

Bowles followed at 12:29. Brian Williams zipped a pass across the slot in front of Seattle defenseman Taylor Green, and with Glover committed to the left, Bowles had a wide-open net.

“That was all Brian,” Bowles said. “He gave me a nice pass, and I had an open net. Can’t miss that one.”

Williams scored a goal of his own at 19:37, picking the puck out of a scrum at the blue line and beating Glover stick side for a 2-1 Tri-City lead.

w Annie Fowler: 582-1574; afowler@tricityherald.com

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