|North Bay Battalion|
|Owen Sound Attack|
|Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds|
|Acadie-Bathurst Titan||Baie-Comeau Drakkar|
|Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Chicoutimi Sagueneens||Drummondville Voltigeurs|
|Gatineau Olympiques||Halifax Mooseheads|
|Moncton Wildcats||PEI Rocket|
|Quebec Remparts||Rimouski Oceanic|
|Rouyn-Noranda Huskies||Saint John Sea Dogs|
|Shawinigan Cataractes||Sherbrooke Phoenix|
|Val-d'Or Foreurs||Victoriaville Tigres|
March 18, 2013 - April 3, 2013
March 12, 2013
At Seattle 8, Tri-City 3
The Thunderbirds clinched a playoff spot March 12 with an 8-3 win over the Americans. Luke Lockhart opened the scoring just 1:18 seconds in on a T-Birds power play, giving the T-Birds a 1-0 lead. Justin Feser tied the game at 5:18 of the first before a remarkable penalty kill for the Thunderbirds. Luke Lockhart and Seth Swenson both scored on the same Tri-City power play to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. Malte Stromwall got Tri-City within one, down 3-2, heading into the first intermission. Roberts Lipsbergs added a fourth T-Birds goal just 1:03 into the second period, taking the score to 4-2. Shea Theodore, Adam Kambeitz, and Connor Sanvido added consecutive goals to open the third period and put the game out of reach at 7-2. Lucas Nickles added a third goal for Tri-City before Connor Honey capped off the scoring, taking the final score to 8-3 Seattle.
Keys From Last Week
Q) This will be the last time these two teams meet in the regular season. Can the T-Birds get back to .500 on the year against the Americans?
A) The win sealed a playoff berth for the Thunderbirds, and took them back to .500 against their division foes.
Q) Malte Stromwall. While Feser leads Tri-City in scoring on the year, Stromwall has tallied a team-high nine points against the Thunderbirds this year. Can the T-Birds shut him down Tuesday night?
A) Stromwall managed a goal and an assist on the night, but the offensive outburst from the Thunderbirds nullified his scoring.
March 15, 2013
At Portland 8, Seattle 4
Brendan Leipsic opened up a 2-0 lead for Portland just 2:50 in the first period, but Seth Swenson’s power-play goal with 19 seconds left in the first put the T-Birds 2-1 down after one period. Justin Hickman fired in a shot 1:20 into the second period to tie it 2-2, but Portland took the lead back at 2:50 through Ty Rattie’s effort. Seattle responded quickly and tied the game 3-3 when Adam Kambeitz beat Brendan Burke at 3:28. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at 17: 59 to give the Winterhawks a 4-3 lead going into the third. Three consecutive goals to open the third period from Portland put the game out of reach for Seattle at 7-3, but Roberts Lipsbergs put in a consolation score for the T-Birds before Joey Baker capped off the scoring for Portland as the game ended 8-4.
March 16, 2013
Portland 6, at Seattle 5 SO
The final regular-season game of the year for the Thunderbirds certainly had the intensity of a playoff game. Nic Petan opened the scoring for Portland on a power play 4:08 into the first period, before Andrew Johnson tipped in a pass from Michael Holub at 9:29 to tie the game 1-1 for the T-Birds. Paul Bittner put the Winterhawks back in front 2-1 at 13:45, taking the one-goal lead into the second period. Roberts Lipsbergs banged in his own rebound to tie the game 2-2, 2:57 into the second. Goals from Derrick Pouliot and Seth Jones gave Portland a 4-2 lead at the 11:21 mark, and Danny Mumaugh was then put in the Seattle net to replace Brandon Glover. Lipsbergs scored his second after some great puck movement by Connor Honey and Shea Theodore at 14:18 on a T-Birds power play to push the T-Birds within one, down 4-3. Brendan Leipsic scored at 16:22 to retake a two-goal lead for Portland, but Lipsbergs answered right back and completed his hat trick at 16:46 with a rifled wrist shot over Brendan Burke’s glove, taking the T-Birds into the final period down 5-4. Neither team could get past the others’ goalie throughout the third period, as Mumaugh was taken off for the extra attacker with 1:23 left to play. Some good puck control in the corner saw an open Lipsbergs receive the puck at the backdoor where he slammed home his fourth goal of the night, and 30th of the year, to tie the game 5-5 with 1:02 left in regulation. The game went through a scoreless overtime and headed to a shootout. Lipsbergs scored on the T-Birds third attempt to send the shootout to extra rounds, where Portland managed to win it after the sixth round when Chase De Leo beat Mumaugh. The T-Birds clinched the seventh seed for the western conference playoffs with the shootout loss, and now face the Kelowna Rockets in the first round.
Keys From Last Week
Q) Can Seattle get a badly-needed third win against their rivals to the south to help them solidify their playoff spot?
A) The shootout loss earned the T-Birds one point, clinching the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
Q) Will any Portland players be rested with the playoffs looming the number one seed already sewn up?
A) Portland didn’t let up in their final game against the T-Birds, as Ty Rattie was the only top scorer rested for the second game.
Friday, March 22, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ Prospera Palace, Kelowna, British Columbia
Saturday, March 23, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ Prospera Palace, Kelowna, British Columbia
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ ShoWare Center, Kent Washington
Saturday, March 30, 2013 (7:05 PM) Prospera Palace, Kelowna, British Columbia*
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington*
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 (7:05 PM) @ ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington*
(* if necessary)
Season Series: 1-2-1-0
Kelowna had a very successful season, getting the number two seed in the Western Conference with an overall record of 52-16-3-1, giving them 108 points, the only other western team to have over 100 points on the year (Portland had 117). The Rockets are 9-1-0-0 heading into the playoffs, but will be without their captain, Colton Sissons, for 8-12 weeks after he suffered an upper body injury. Sissons was fourth on the team in scoring with 28 goals and 39 assists for 67 points.
Seattle opened the season series with a 4-2 win at home against the Rockets on December 1, with four different T-Birds spreading around the scoring. The two teams then had a home-and-home series on January 24 and 25, with Kelowna winning 8-0 at home on the 24 and managing a 4-3 overtime win in Seattle the following night. The final game between the two took place February 28 in Kelowna, where the Rockets won 4-1.
Kelowna scored the second-most goals in the Western Conference this season behind Portland, managing 309 goals in 72 games, averaging out to 4.3 goals per-game. Their power play has been one of the best in the WHL this year as well, converting 22.2% of their chances which puts them fourth in the league in power-play efficiency.
Individually, LW #29 Myles Bell led the team in all offensive categories with 38 goals, 55 assists, and 93 points this season. Bell managed to score two goals and had three assists in the four games against Seattle, putting him tied for second on the team in points against the T-Birds. RW #19 Dylan McKinlay is the leading scorer against the T-Birds, putting in four goals and adding two assists for six points in the four games. LW #9 Zach Franko is another dangerous forward to watch out for, as his 72 points (24g, 48a) put him second on the team in scoring for the regular season.
As powerful as Kelowna’s offense was this year, their defense has been equally as good. They allowed the second-fewest goals in the West behind Portland, allowing a meager 2.5 goals per-game this season. The Rockets penalty-kill unit is very tough, ranking fifth in the WHL with an 83.9% successful kill rate.
Kelowna has primarily used two goalies this season, with rookie Jake Morrissey only playing in one game. Jordan Cooke has seen the majority of ice time between the pipes for the Rockets, playing in 54 games with an overall record of 37-14-2-1 and posting a 2.53 GAA and a .908 SV%. Jackson Whistle has played in 21 games for Kelowna, posting a 15-2-1-0 record, a very impressive 1.98 GAA, and a .931 SV%.
What To Watch For
The Thunderbirds are 0-2 at Kelowna this season. Can they manage to steal a game on the road and put early pressure on the Rockets in the first-round matchup?
How will the loss of Colton Sissons affect the Rockets’ play? They still have their top three scorers available, but will The T-Birds be able to take advantage of his absence?
COMING NEXT WEEK
ABOUT THUNDERBIRDS: THE WEEK AHEAD
Thunderbirds: The Week Ahead is written weekly by Andy McCullough, intern with the Thunderbirds. Andy is a graduate student at Seattle University, studying Sport Administration and Leadership. Each post is written as a preview of Thunderbird games scheduled for the upcoming week and weekend.
If you have any comments, questions, or interesting trivia, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “The Week Ahead” in the subject line. You can also tweet @SeattleTBirds. Compelling trivia or interesting questions are gratefully accepted and may possibly included as content for the next week.
For previous weeks, visit Thunderbirds: Week Ahead Archive