KENT, April 16, 2016 – The Seattle Thunderbirds are heading to the Western Conference Championship.
The T-Birds beat the Everett Silvertips 3-2 Saturday at ShoWare Center in Game 5 of their Round 2 playoff series to win the best-of-seven series 4-1.
The T-Birds will play either the Kelowna Rockets or the Victoria Royals in the WHL Western Conference Championship. The Rockets lead the Royals 3-2 in their Round 2 playoff series. Game 6 in that series is Sunday at 5:05pm in Kelowna. If Victoria wins Game 6, the two teams will play Game 7 Tuesday in Victoria at 7:05pm.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Championship is Friday, April 22, at 7:05pm in either Kelowna or Victoria.
The T-Birds will host Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Championship on Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 27. Both games start at 7:05pm at ShoWare Center. Game 3 will be a Director’s Mortgage 2-for-Tuesday game.
WHL Western Conference Championship
Game 1 Seattle at Kelowna/Victoria, Friday, April 22, 7:05pm
Game 2 Seattle at Kelowna/Victoria, Saturday, April 23, 7:05pm
Game 3 Kelowna/Victoria at Seattle, Tuesday, April 26, 7:05pm
Game 4 Kelowna/Victoria at Seattle, Wednesday, April 27, 7:05pm
Game 5 Seattle at Kelowna/Victoria, Friday, April 29, 7:05pm*
Game 6 Kelowna/Victoria at Seattle, Sunday, May 1, 5:05pm*
Game 7 Seattle at Kelowna/Victoria, Tuesday, May 3, 7:05pm*
* if necessary
Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 12:16 of the first period on a wraparound goal by Scott Eansor. Donovan Neuls passed the puck from the left corner to Eansor behind the net. Eansor beat Everett goalie Carter Hart at the right post for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Nolan Volcan had the second assist.
The T-Birds took a 2-0 lead at 15:41 of the first on Nick Holowko’s second goal of the playoffs. Alexander True banged the puck up the right boards in the Seattle zone to Cavin Leth. Leth passed the puck to Holowko who came into the Everett zone on a two-on-one with True. Holowko looked at True and snapped a wrist shot over Hart’s glove for the goal.
Seattle outshot Everett 15-3 in the first period.
Everett scored at 10:11 of the second period when Brandon Ralph put back a rebound. Kevin Davis and Matt Fonteyne had the assists.
The T-Birds took the two-goal lead back at 11:43 of the second on Ryan Gropp’s second goal of the playoffs. Gropp came down the right wing and passed the puck to Turner Ottenbreit on top of the crease. Ottenbreit got off a shot that Hart stopped. Gropp poked the rebound under the goalie for the goal.
The Silvertips cut the lead back to one goal at 18:49 of the second on a power-play goal from Devon Skoleski. Yan Khomenko and Fonteyne had the assists.
Everett outshot Seattle 12-9 in the second period. Seattle led 24-15 in shots after two periods.
Everett played with desperation in the third period and the T-Birds had to battle through the period to win and advance to the Western Conference Championship.
Gropp was called for slashing with 1:47 left in the third period. Everett couldn’t get the puck into the Seattle zone which delayed Hart heading to the bench. Hart made it to the bench with one minute in the game. Donovan Neuls was called for delay of game by putting the puck over the glass in the Seattle zone with three seconds left in the game. The Tips had a six-on-three power play in the last three seconds. Mathew Barzal took the faceoff against Fonteyne and won the puck cleanly into the corner where Jerret Smith held it up against the boards until the horn sounded.
Seattle outshot Everett 18-4 in the third period and 42-19 in the game.
Seattle goalie Landon Bow made 17 saves on 19 shots to get his eight win of the playoffs.
Hart stopped 39 of 42 shots in the loss.
First period – 1, Seattle, Eansor 4 (Neuls, Volcan), 12:16. 2, Seattle, Holowko 2 (Leth, True), 15:41. Penalties – No penalties.
Second period – 3, Everett, Ralph 4 (Davis, Fonteyne), 10:11. 4, Seattle, Gropp 2 (Ottenbreit, Wedman), 11:43. 5, Everett, Skoleski 1 (Khomenko, Fonteyne), 18:49 (pp). Penalties – Smith, Sea (holding), :32. Leedahl, Evt (tripping), 5:00. Leth, Sea (tripping), 7:27. Barzal, Sea (high-sticking), 17:04. Neuls, Sea (goaltender interference), 20:00.
Third period – No scoring. Penalties – Volcan, Sea (boarding), 11:44. Skrumeda, Evt (embellishment), 11:44. Ralph, Evt (cross checking), 16:13. Gropp, Sea (slashing), 18:13. Neuls, Sea (delay of game), 19:57.
Shots on goal – Seattle 15-9-18 42, Everett 3-12-4 19. Goalies – Seattle, Bow 19 shots-17 saves (8-1); Everett, Hart 42-39 (2-4). Power plays – Seattle 0-3; Everett 1-6. A – 4,339. Referees – Reagan Vetter, Mike Campbell. Linesmen – Nick Bilko, Ron Dietterle.
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