Spokane (ISN) – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Spokane Chiefs 4-3 Friday night at Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane. The victory over Spokane positions the T-Birds to advance to the playoffs if they defeat the Everett Silvertips Saturday night.
By defeating the Chiefs, Seattle (25-43-1-1) moved into a tie for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff standings with Everett (21-41-2-8), who lost 4-1 to the Tri-City Americans Friday night in Kennewick.
The T-Birds and Silvertips meet Saturday night at 7:05 pm in what is likely to be a full house at ShoWare Center. Both the T-Birds and Silvertips have 52 points. If the T-Birds win Saturday night they will eliminate the Silvertips from the playoff chase and stand alone in eighth place. The Silvertips last game of the regular season is Saturday against the T-Birds.
Fan can purchase tickets to this game at the ShoWare Center box office on Saturday or online at the T-Birds website . The ShoWare Center Box Office opens at 10am on Saturday.
The T-Birds play the Portland Winterhawks Sunday at 5:05pm at Memorial Coliseum in Portland in the final regular season game for both teams.
The Victoria Royals (24-41-3-4) defeated the Winterhawks 3-1 Friday night to clinch a playoff spot. The Royals are in seventh place and do not have any games remaining this season. If the T-Birds defeat the Silvertips on Saturday and the Winterhawks on Sunday they would move into seventh place in the playoff standings and bump the Royals to eighth place.
If the T-Birds were to lose Saturday against the Silvertips they would need to defeat the Winterhawks on Sunday to set up a tie breaker game with the Silvertips which would take place on Tuesday, March 20, at ShoWare Center.
The Prince George Cougars were eliminated from the playoff chase Friday night after being beat 10-4 by the Kamloops Blazers.
The T-Birds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on the Chiefs with a power-play goal at 2:11 of the first period. Shea Theodore took slap shot from just inside the blue line at center ice. Spokane goalie Eric Williams made the save with Luke Lockhart in front of him. Lockhart jabbed at the rebound and was able to get it through the goalie’s legs for his 15th goal of the season. Connor Honey had the second assist on the goal.
Spokane (37-25-5-4) tied the game 1-1 at 9:14 of the first on a goal from Marek Kalus. Darren Kramer and Reid Gow had the assists.
Seattle (25-43-1-1) outshot Spokane 15-12 in the first period.
The Chiefs went in front 2-1 on a power-play goal from Blake Gal at 6:22 of the second period. Dylan Walchuk and Davis Vandane had the assists.
Seth Swenson tied the game 2-2 at 9:04 of the second on an unassisted goal. Swenson corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated up ice on a two-on-one with Theodore on his left. Swenson snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Williams from the right circle to get his 11th of the season.
Walchuk put the Chiefs ahead 3-2 with a power-play goal at 13:08 of the second. Brenden Kichton and Steve Kuhn were credited with the assists.
The T-Birds came right back and scored with less than a minute left in the second period to tie the game 3-3. Branden Troock went end-to-end and circled around the Chiefs net. Troock found Evan Wardley at the right point. Wardley put a wrist shot on goal with Honey and Colin Jacobs in front of Williams. Honey got a stick on the rebound and the puck went to Jacobs on top of the crease. Jacobs slammed the puck past Williams for his ninth goal of the year.
The Chiefs outshot the T-Birds 19-7 in the second period and led 31-22 in total shots after two periods.
The T-Birds took a 4-3 lead at 15:11 of the third period. Lockhart got the puck low to Jacobs in the right corner. Jacobs centered the puck to Burke Gallimore charging towards the goal. Jacobs pass went off Gallimore’s toe and up and over Williams for the go-ahead goal. The referees went to video review to determine if Gallimore had used a kicking motion to score the goal. They ruled he did not and the goal stood.
Spokane outshot Seattle 39-29 in the game.
Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard stopped 36 of 39 shots to get the win. His record is now 25-34-1-1.
Williams made 25 saves 29 shots and his record is now 16-21-4-2.