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Thomas Milic Backstops T-Birds To Win In WHL Debut

Brian Liesse

Goalie makes 23 saves in 4-2 win over Regina

KENT, January 17, 2020 — It was a debut to remember for Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Thomas Milic Friday night at accesso ShoWare Center. Milic made 23 saves in his first career start to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 win over the Regina Pats in front of 5,532 fans.

Milic was called up to the team Thursday from the Burnaby Winter Club Prep team in the CSSHL. Milic was selected by the T-Birds in the third round of the 2018 Bantam Draft and signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement with the team on August 28, 2018.

Milic was strong throughout the game, especially in the second period when the Pats took a 2-1 lead and were pressing the play.

Keltie Jeri-Leon had two goals and Lucas Ciona had a goal and an assist in the game.

The T-Birds are now 18-20-2-1 and have a four-game winning streak. They are in the second Wild Card playoff spot in the Western Conference, six points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. Vancouver, with a record of 18-18-2-2, is in the first Wild Card playoff spot, one point ahead of the T-Birds.

The T-Birds have a home-and-home series with the Everett Silvertips on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday the T-Birds travel to Angel of the Winds for a 7:05pm puck drop. Sunday the Silvertips are at accesso ShoWare Center for a 5:05pm puck drop. Single game tickets are on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the accesso ShoWare Center box office.

Ciona_Body_011720
Lucas Ciona skating up ice at accesso ShoWare Center. Ciona had a goal and an assist in the game.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead on Ciona’s second goal of the season. Luke Bateman took a slap shot from the mid-point that rebounded off Regina goalie Donovan Buskey to the right of the net. Jared Davidson banged at the puck and it popped into the air and through the crease. Ciona swung and tried to knock the puck into the net but missed. The puck hit the ice and Ciona backhanded it past Buskey as the goalie attempted to making a sprawling save.

Regina tied the game 1-1 at 8:19 of the second period on a goal by Zack Smith.

The Pats went in front 2-1 at 9:31 of the first on a goal from Josh Paulhus.

Seattle came storming back in the third period to score three goals and win the game.

Bateman took a shot from the right point and the puck deflected behind the net. Henrik Rybinski got the rebound and made a backhand pass to Keltie Jeri-Leon in the low slot. Jeri-Leon snapped the puck over Buskey’s glove at 2:41 to tie the game 2-2.

JeriLeon_Body_011720
Keltie Jeri-Leon with the puck at accesso ShoWare Center against the Pats. Jeri-Leon had two goals in the game.

Jeri-Leon gave the T-Birds a 3-2 lead at 9:43 of the third. Cade McNelly got a rebound to the left of the Seattle net and passed it to Conner Roulette moving up the left wing. At the Seattle bench Roulette crossed the puck to Jeri-Leon on the right wing. Jeri-Leon carried the puck into the zone, made a toe drag move around the defenseman and ripped a wrist shot over Buskey’s glove for his team leading 19th goal of the season.

Simon Kubicek added an insurance goal at 13:15 of the third. Ciona passed the puck from the right corner behind the net to Max Patterson. Patterson skated into the left circle with his head up. Patterson spotted Kubicek pinching down from the right point and hit him with a pass. Kubicek beat Buskey over the blocker with a wrist shot for his fifth goal of the season.

The T-Birds are now taking orders for Flex-24 Ticket packages. Fans that purchase the 24-Flex Ticket Package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the 2019-20 season.

SCORING SUMMARY

First period – 1, Seattle, Ciona 2 (Davidson, Bateman), 7:42. Penalties – Bauer, Sea (roughing), :31. Holmes, Reg (roughing), :31. Jeri-Leon, Sea (tripping), 1:11. Holmes, Reg (tripping), 7:42. Nijhoff, Reg (high-sticking), 10:49. McNelly, Sea (elbowing), 16:00.

Second period – 2, Regina, Smith 8 (Chorney), 8:19. 3, Regina, Paulhus 1 (Cikhart), 9:31. Penalties – Wytinck, Reg (delay of game), 1:09. Nijhoff, Reg (interference), 16:07. Davidson, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct, major-fighting), 19:06. Dubinsky, Reg (major-fighting), 19:06.

Third period – 4, Seattle, Jeri-Leon 18 (Rybinski, Bateman), 2:41. 5, Seattle, Jeri-Leon 19 (Roulette, McNelly), 9:43. 6, Seattle, Kubicek 5 (Patterson, Ciona), 13:15. Penalties – No penalties.

Shots on goal – Seattle 10-11-9 30, Regina 7-12-6 25. Goalies – Seattle, Milic 25 shots-23 saves (1-0-0-0); Regina, Buskey 30-26 (2-5-0-0). Power plays – Seattle 0-4; Regina 0-3. Referees – Graedy Hamilton, Dexter Rasmussen. Linesmen – Nick Bilko, Eric McLaughlin.

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