Rookie Justin Myles anchors Thunderbirds in win over Silvertips
Playing in front of a sellout crowd, rookie goaltender Justin Myles admitted to a slight case of nerves on Saturday. Myles overcame a bit...
Special to The Seattle Times
EVERETT — Playing in front of a sellout crowd, rookie goaltender Justin Myles admitted to a slight case of nerves on Saturday.
Myles overcame a bit of a shaky start to make 27 saves and lift the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-2 win over the Everett Silvertips in front of a sellout, mostly pink-clad crowd of 8,279 supporting breast cancer awareness.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at the start when the pregame ceremony kept going on for a while," Myles said. "My mind started racing with all those pink sticks everywhere. This is the largest crowd I've ever played in front of, but after the game got going I was able to calm down."
Myles' performance, which included a stellar stretch at the end of the game after Everett pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker in the last minute, puts Seattle at 7-5-0-0 on the season. It also ended a four-game winning streak for Everett and drops the Silvertips to 6-8-0-1.
Myles made several big saves and was especially good when Everett had an extended 5-on-3 power play in the first period and then again after Connor Honey's second goal of the game gave Seattle a one-goal lead at 8:58 of the third period.
The win was the first in the WHL for Myles, a native of Calgary, Alberta. "It feels great. I would have liked to have gotten my first win before my third start, but this is really, really good."
Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said he had no qualms about starting a rookie, even after Seattle's other goaltender, Brandon Glover, made 44 saves in a win over Tri-City on Friday.
"We had confidence that (Myles) could come in in a big game and play like he did," Konowalchuk said. "I had no doubt that he would be like that because he's a good goalie."
The Thunderbirds play their third game in three nights Sunday in Kent against Kamloops, the WHL's top team at 14-0-0-1 this season.
"We need to bear down a little more," Everett coach Mark Ferner said after his team outshot Seattle 29-19. "We had more than enough opportunities. You have to tip your hat to them and their goalie. They played a real good road game."
Myles allowed a puck to squeeze through his legs on the third shot he saw. Tyler Sandhu got the goal to put Everett ahead at 3:53 of the first period. Seattle tied it when Honey scored on a snapshot with Seattle on the power play.
The Thunderbirds took the lead on a short-handed goal by Alexander Delnov. Delnov broke in alone and lifted a backhanded shot just under the cross bar.
"You can see the skill and talent level he has," Konowalchuk said. "He can make plays and that's a big time shot."
After Everett tied the game on the fifth goal of the season by Reid Petryk, Honey scored his second goal of the game, the game-winner, less than a minute later.