In the news:
Taran Kozun stellar in goal again as Thunderbirds beat Silvertips 2-1
New goaltender now 7-0-0-0 since trade brought him to Seattle
Special to The Seattle Times
EVERETT — Taran Kozun is on a big-time roll and so are the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Kozun improved to 7-0-0-0 since coming to the Thunderbirds in a trade with Kamloops after a stellar performance in goal in a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Western Hockey League action Friday.
Kozun made 24 saves to help the Thunderbirds take their 10th victory in their past 11 games and improve to 32-15-2-3 on the season. Everett lost for the sixth consecutive time to fall to 25-19-7-1.
Kozun, who has allowed only 1.25 goals a game since the trade, could be excused for a bit of hyperbole after the victory over Everett.
“I think we’re a real contender for the Memorial Cup,” Kozun said. “I really like our team and think we can go far. If a team has to play us seven games I don’t think they can keep up with us. We have the size and the grit and the offensive ability. It’s really ours to lose.”
Kozun was 5-19-2-1 with Kamloops before the trade, but has been spectacular with a 95.6 save percentage since he came to Seattle.
“It started off with a couple of wins with a new team and it just kept going,” Kozun said with a smile.
Nothing exemplified Kozun’s run more than his save at the end of the first period with the scored tied at 1.
With only a few seconds remaining in the period, Kozun tried to rim the puck around the glass at Comcast Arena. To his horror, the puck hit a stanchion in the corner and bounced directly to Brayden Low who was staring at an empty net.
Low’s shot was quick and true, but Kozun bolted across the crease to make the save.
“I just had do something to get back and ended up sliding into it,” Kozun said. “I was honestly terrified I was going to give up a goal there. Luckily, I got the save.”
Mathew Barzal gave Seattle a brief lead with his eighth goal of the season at 13:24 of the first period before Joshua Winquist scored his 32nd goal on Everett’s second power play at 19:08.
Ryan Gropp, who assisted on Barzal’s goal, scored the eventual winner with a power-play goal at 7:21 of the second period.