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Originally published Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 9:43 PM

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T-birds keep hopes alive, beat Silvertips

With their playoff hopes down to only a mathematical possibility, Marcel Noebels made a statement for the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday...

Special to The Seattle Times

KENT — With their playoff hopes down to only a mathematical possibility, Marcel Noebels made a statement for the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday.

Noebels scored four goals, including a natural hat trick in the third period, to lift the Thunderbirds to a 5-1 win over the Everett Silvertips.

Although it may be too little, too late with Seattle at 23-31-4-5 and seven points out of the final playoff spot, Noebels' performance made it clear no one has given up yet.

The T-birds need to jump over two teams to make it into the Western Hockey League playoffs with nine games left to play. They are tied with Chilliwack for ninth place with 55 points, but also need to jump over either Prince George or Kamloops, both with 62 points.

The Silvertips (27-27-5-4) have 63 points.

Noebels, from Tonisvorst, Germany, a suburb of Berlin, scored his second goal early in the third period to give the T-birds a 3-1 lead and then could barely believe his eyes later in the period.

As the teams lined up for a faceoff in the Seattle end, Noebels was shocked to see Silvertips goalie Kent Simpson pulled out of the net with more than three minutes left in regulation. Noebels took a pass from Colin Jacobs and shot the puck into the net from center ice.

"I was very surprised, but I saw it from the faceoff circle," Noebels said. "I just wanted to get to the red line and make sure I put it into an empty net," Noebels said.

It was the first hat trick of Noebels' WHL career. He then added his fourth goal with Simpson back in net at 18:15 of the third period.

Noebels, who has 25 goals, isn't giving up on the postseason.

"There's always a chance as long as you win," Noebels said. "Of course we have to hope that the teams ahead of us lose a couple of games, but we have a lot of home games coming and we need to make sure we get two points every night."

Noebels said he and linemates Jacobs and Luke Lockhart got a motivational speech from coach Rob Sumner after Everett took a 1-0 lead in a lackluster Seattle first period on a power-play goal by Ryan Murray.

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"It helped us get a good start in the second period," Noebels said.

The T-birds tied it on a goal by Lockhart.

Noebels is playing with a swollen left hand injured when he blocked a shot a few games ago.

"After a lot of goals today, I have no pain," Noebels said.

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