Thanks to 38 saves from Taran Kozun, those goals held up to give Seattle a 2-1 victory over the Silvertips in Game 1 of their best-of-seven playoff series.
Defenseman Shea Theodore was named to the first-team All-Star squad in the Western Conference, it was announced Thursday. Theodore led the T-Birds — and all WHL defensemen — with 79 points, including 22 goals.
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.