Portland, OR. Thomas Milic turned aside 28-shots while Lukas Svejkovsky had a goal and three assists, and the Seattle Thunderbirds shutout the Portland Winterhawks, 5-0, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland Wednesday in game Three of their second-round playoff series. Portland still leads the best of seven matchup, two games to one. Game Four is Friday at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
T-Birds head coach Matt made a few adjustments to his lineup, looking to spark his offense after mustering only three goals in the first two games. He moved Jared Davidson onto the top line with Svejkovsky and Henrik Rybinski and the move paid immediate dividends as Davidson scored twice, to go along with Svejkovsky’s four-point effort.
“Just trying to spark something, find some chemistry, get the offense going a little bit,” said O’Dette in explaining the move. “Sometimes you have to shake it up, to hopefully ignite other lines as well.”
That newly formed line scored at 6:14 of the first period with Davidson potting his first to stake Seattle to an early lead. Helping them maintain the lead was Milic, who earned his second postseason shutout. “That was my goal for the season, and going into the playoffs, to give my team a chance every night. That’s making saves early to help us get our legs under us and hopefully continuing that the rest of the game.”
O’Dette said the game was closer than the final score would indicate but Milic was dialed in. “He was incredible. He’s been good all playoffs, but I think he took it to another level tonight.”
The T-Birds doubled their lead at 5:29 of period two when Svejkovsky knocked home a rebound. The 20-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prospect hopes his previous playoff experience is helping his young teammates, many of whom are in the WHL postseason for the first time. “We’ve got some young guys on the team. I’m just trying to feed them as much input as I can, be a leader, and try to make a difference every night.”
Svejkovsky then assisted on a Conner Roulette power play goal at 7:29 of the third period. It was Seattle’s first power play goal of the series. O’Dette hopes it’s not their last. “We’ve been gripping the sticks too tight on the power play. Portland has a really good penalty kill. It was a matter of sticking with it and staying positive. If you can do that you can get rewarded and that’s what we did tonight.”
Davidson would score his second, into an empty net with just under three minutes left, as the Winterhawks pulled the goalie for the extra skater. Lucas Ciona finished the scoring 32-seconds later, finishing off a nice feed from Roulette, who won a puck battle behind the Portland net.
Tickets for Game Four are on sale at seattlethunderbirds.com or at the ShoWare Center box office. The Seattle win means there will be a Game Five Saturday in Portland. Game six, if necessary, is slated for Monday in Kent at 7:05 p.m. Game Seven, if needed, would be back in Portland next Tuesday.
The shutout was the second of the playoffs for Milic, who blanked Kelowna in Game One of Seattle’s first round series win over the Rockets.
Jeremy Hanzel finished with two assists. Roulette’s second period power play tally was the first postseason goal of his WHL career.
The T-Birds have opened the scoring in all three games of the series.
Full boxscore: WHL Network