T-Birds Win Western Hockey League Championship

Keith Hershmiller

Alexander True scores overtime game winning goal

REGINA, SK, May 14, 2017 — The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Regina Pats 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 of the WHL Championship series presented by Rogers Sunday night at the Brandt Centre to win the Western Hockey League Championship.

Game6_1Alexander True scored the game-winning goal at 12:36 of overtime. True entered the Regina zone on the right wing and took a shot from the right circle. The puck rebounded off Regina goalie Tyler Brown to the goalie’s right. True got the rebound and snapped it past Brown.

The T-Birds raced from the bench and mobbed True in the left corner of Regina zone. The Championship is the first in team history.

Mathew Barzal was named the 2017 Western Hockey League Playoffs Most Valuable Player. Barzal had seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 16 playoff games.

The T-Birds advance to the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ontario, by winning the WHL Championship. They will play a round-robin tournament with the Erie Otters, champions of the Ontario Hockey League, Windsor Spitfires the host team and Saint John Seadogs, champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Canadian Hockey League Championship. The Memorial Cup starts Friday, May 19. The T-Birds first game at the tournament is Saturday, May 20, against the Otters at noon. View Full Memorial Cup Tournament Schedule.

The T-Birds came back from a two-goal deficit with less than six minutes left in the game to force overtime.

Ryan Gropp wired a wrist shot past Brown at 14:38 of the third period to cut the Pats lead to one goal. Gropp came off the right boards and skated into the slot to take the shot. Ethan Bear had the only assist on the goal.

Then Keegan Kolesar scored from the right circle on the power-play at 17:06 of the third to tie the game. Gropp passed the puck from the right wall to Ethan Bear at the mid-point. Bear passed the puck to Kolesar who one-timed the pass to beat Brown.

Regina took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal from Sam Steel at 7:18 of the first period. Josh Mahura and Connor Hobbs had the assists.

The T-Birds tied the game 1-1 at 8:55 of the second period on a goal from Sami Moilanen. Moilanen sprinted up the ice on a two-on-one break with Scott Eansor. Moilanen beat Brown on the blocker side low with a wrist shot from the right circle.

The Pats took a 3-1 lead in the third period on goals by Mahura at 11:50 and Austin Wagner at 13:12.

The T-Birds outshot the Pats 43-31 in the game.

Carl Stankowski’s playoff record is 16-4 after making 28 saves.

WHL Championship
Regina vs. Seattle
Game 1 Seattle 2, at Regina 1, OT
Game 2 At Regina 4, Seattle 3, OT
Game 3 Regina 3, at Seattle 2
Game 4 At Seattle 6, Regina 1
Game 5 At Seattle 7, Regina 4
Game 6 Seattle 4, at Regina 3, OT


First period – 1, Regina, Steel 11 (Mahura, Hobbs), 7:18 (pp). Penalties – True, Sea (tripping), 6:24. Leedahl, Reg (cross checking), 17:44.

Second period – 2, Seattle, Moilanen 7 (Eansor), 8:55. Penalties – Ottenbreit, Sea (major-charging, game misconduct), 9:09. Strand, Sea (roughing), 9:09. Brooks, Reg (roughing), 9:09. Leedahl, Reg (slashing), 12:23. Strand, Sea (hooking), 16:29.

Third period – 3, Regina, Mahura 8 (de Wit, Leedahl), 11:50. 4, Regina, Wagner 15, 13:12. 5, Seattle, Gropp 7 (Bear), 14:38. 6, Seattle, Kolesar 12 (Bear, Gropp), 17:06. Penalties – True, Sea (boarding), 8:51. Harrison, Reg (holding), 15:25.

Overtime – 7, Seattle, True 12 (Kolesar, Hyman), 12:36. Penalties – No penalties.

Shots on goal – Seattle 10-14-11-8 43, Regina 3-15-9-4 31. Goalies – Seattle, Stankowski 31 shots-28 saves (16-4); Regina, Brown 43-39 (14-9). Power plays – Seattle 1-4; Regina 1-4. A – 6,484. Referees – Jeff Ingram, Reagan Vetter. Linesmen – Chad Huseby, Cody Huseby.

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