The T-Birds will be taking on an Everett squad that enters the playoffs as the hottest team in the league. After an up-and-down season, Everett finished strong when it mattered most, carrying an 11-0-0-2 record over its final 13 games.
With the Thunderbirds’ 6-1 win at Tri-City and the Silvertips’ 5-4 shootout loss to Portland, both teams finished with 88 points. That meant that Seattle (41-25-2-4), by virtue of its higher win total, won the tiebreaker over Everett (39-23-7-3) and earned the No. 4 seed.
The Seattle Thunderbirds emerged from a difficult stretch in which it faced four playoff teams in five nights only to face a weekend of meaningful games with just a two point lead for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage.
Two late third period goals allowed Spokane to inch closer to Seattle with a 6-4 win, Tuesday night. Spokane now sits fifth, just two points behind the Thunderbirds in fourth place and three in front of Everett in sixth.
It was a game the Thunderbirds absolutely had to have after a 3-game losing skid left their grip on the No. 4 seed tenuous. Shea Theodore finished with three assists, Danny Mumaugh had 32 saves in his first start in eight games and Alexander Delnov tallied his 28th goal of the season to lift the T-Birds.
Seattle dropped its third straight game to Everett in a 5-2 home loss, Saturday. With five games left on its schedule, Seattle is clinging to a 2-point advantage for the fourth seed, and home-ice advantage, in the Western Conference.
It’s the second consecutive loss for the Thunderbirds against Everett in a little over a week, with Seattle (39-20-2-4) managing just two goals against the stingy Everett defense.
Troock now has 22 goals on the season and 31 assists for a total of 53 points, good for third on the team behind defenseman Shea Theodore (69) and Alexander Delnov (56). It’s his hope that the goal spurs his game back to where it was in December when he was lighting the lamp nearly every night.
Late goals from forwards Justin Hickman and Brendan Troock carried Seattle to a statement-making 4-1 win over Portland, Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Goalie Taran Kozun had 41 saves and Seattle halted one of the greatest regular-season streaks in WHL history.
In the end, Alexander Delnov scored the game-winner in overtime to lift Seattle past Prince Albert 4-3. Mathew Barzal scored two goals, Roberts Lipsbergs added his first goal in nine games, and Shea Theodore contributed two assists to lead the T-Birds.