KENT, March 12, 2013 - The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 8-3 Tuesday night at ShoWare Center to clinch a spot in the 2013 WHL Playoffs.
Seattle has a 24-37-7-2 record good for 57 points and is in seventh place in the Western Conference Playoff Standings. They are three points ahead of the eighth place Everett Silvertips (24-39-2-4) and seven points ahead of the ninth place Prince George Cougars (21-39-2-6), who lost to the Spokane Chiefs 6-4 Tuesday night.
The T-Birds have two games remaining in the regular season while the Silvertips and Cougars have three games each. The Cougars are at 50 points and cannot catch the T-Birds in the standings. The top eight teams in the Western Conference make the playoffs.
The T-Birds will host Games 3 and 4 of a first round playoff series against either the Portland Winterhawks or Kelowna Rockets. Game 3 will be Tuesday, March 26, at 7:05pm at ShoWare Center. The T-Birds will continue their popular 2-for-Tuesday promotion for Game 3, which means all tickets will be two-for-one and all beer, soda, popcorn and hot dogs will be $2. Game 4 will be Wednesday, March 27, at 7:05pm at ShoWare Center. The dates for Game 1 and 2 of the first round will be announced one a opponent has been determined.
Game 3 and Game 4 single game playoff tickets are now on sale online at the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.
The T-Birds finish the season with a home-and-home series against the Portland Winterhawks. The T-Birds are at the Rose Garden on Friday in a game that starts at 7pm. They are at ShoWare Center on Saturday.
Seattle goalie Danny Mumaugh started in net for the T-Birds and made 28 saves on 31 shots to get his first career win as a T-Bird.
Seattle (24-37-7-2) jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 1:18 of the first period with a power-play goal by Luke Lockhart. Roberts Lipsbergs pushed the puck from the slot while falling down to Connor Honey in the left circle. Honey blasted the puck on net and Tri-City goalie Troy Trombley made the save. The puck rebounded to the left of the goal right to Luke Lockhart. Lockhart jammed the puck under Trombley for the goal.
Tri-City (40-25-1-3) tied the game 1-1 at 5:18 of the first on a goal from Justin Feser. Malte Stromwall had the only assist on the goal.
The T-Birds took a 3-1 lead on two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill. On the first goal Seth Swenson sent the puck the length of the ice into the left corner of the Americans zone. Justin Hickman chased the puck down and got to it first. He fought for the puck up the wall with three Americans. The puck squirted out directly to Lockhart coming down the slot. Lockhart beat Trombley over the glove for the goal at 8:39 of the first. The shorthanded goal was Lockhart's league leading seventh shorthand goal of the season.
Swenson converted 50 seconds after Lockhart's goal to give the T-Birds a 3-1 lead. Jesse Forsberg knocked the puck up the left wall to Swenson. Swenson tapped the puck off the boards and around the defenseman at the point. Swenson skated around the defenseman and got to the puck to create a breakaway. He came down on Trombley and beat the goalie over the glove.
Stromwall cut the T-Birds lead to one goal when he scored with 18 seconds left in the first. Lucas Nickles had the only assist on the goal.
Both teams had 10 shots on goal in the first period.
Seattle got the two-goal lead back 1:03 into the second period. Lockhart took a shot that rebounded into the right circle. Alexander Delnov got to the puck and carried it behind the Tri-City net. Delnov fought off a defender to make a wraparound attempt at the right post. Trombley made the save but Roberts Lipsbergs followed up Delnov and poked the puke under the goalie for his 25ht goal of the season.
Seattle outshot Tri-City 14-9 in the second period and led 24-19 in total shots after two periods.
Shea Theodore extended the T-Birds lead to three goals at 4:39 of the third period. Jared Hauf passed the puck down the right board to Adam Kambeitz. Kambeitz held the puck then made a cross-ice pass to Theodore in the left circle. Theodore controlled the puck and then wristed it over Trombley's glove for his 19th goal of the season.
Luke Lee-Knight replaced Trombley in goal for the Americans after the T-Birds fifth goal. Trombley stopped 23 of 28 shots and his record falls to 8-3-0-1 with the loss.
Seattle kept the pressure on and scored their sixth and seventh goals 16 seconds apart in the third period. Kambeitz put back a rebound at 8:02 and then Sanvido did the same at 8:18 of the third.
On Kambeitz's goal Lipsbergs brought the puck out of the right corner and skated into slot. Lipsbergs took a hard wrist shot that Lee-Knight stopped but the rebound came right to Kambeitz in the right circle and he quickly slammed it home past a out of position Lee-Knight.
On Sanvido's goal Connor Honey took a shot from the high slot that Lee-Knight stopped but left a rebound in front of the goal. Sanvido came through the low slot left to right, got the puck, kept going to create space and then put the puck past the lunging goalie.
Lucas Nickles scored an unassisted goal at 10:09 of the third to get the Americans third goal of the game.
Honey capped off the scoring at 18:15 of the third when he beat Lee-Knight with a slap shot from the left circle. Swenson and Taylor Green had the assists.
The T-Birds outshot the Americans 17-12 in the third period and 41-31 in the game.
Lee-Knight stopped 10 of 13 shots in just over 15 minutes of action.
T-Birds season tickets are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.
First period - 1, Seattle, Lockhart 24 (Honey, Lipsbergs), 1:18 (pp). 2, Tri-City, Feser 43 (Stromwall), 5:18. 3, Seattle, Lockhart 25 (Hickman), 8:39 (sh). 4, Seattle, Swenson 19 (Forsberg), 9:29. 5, Tri-City, Stromwall 19 (Nickles), 19:42. Penalties - Bowles, Tri (tripping), :53. Kambeitz, Sea (roughing), 7:29. Yuen, Tri (roughing), 12:22.
Second period - 6, Seattle, Lipsbergs 25 (Delnov, Lockhart), 1:03. Penalties - Kambeitz, Sea (interference), 10:52. Stromwall, Tri (interference), 11:37. Hickman, Sea (hooking), 14:59.
Third period - 7, Seattle, Theodore 19 (Kambeitz, Hauf) 4:39. 8, Seattle, Kambeitz 13 (Lipsbergs, Hickman), 8:02. 9, Seattle, Sanvido 15 (Honey), 8:18. 10, Tri-City, Nickles 10, 10:09. 11, Seattle, Honey 15 (Swenson, Green) 18:15. Penalties - Kambeitz, Sea (holding), :15. McCue, Tri (roughing), 3:50. Johnson, Sea (roughing), 3:50. Bowles, Tri (slashing), 8:21. Lipsbergs, Sea (goaltender interference), 9:20. Mychan, Tri (slashing), 10:57. Nickles, Tri (roughing), 16:02.
Shots on goal - Seattle 10-14-17 41, Tri-City 10-9-12 31. Goalies - Seattle, Mumaugh 31 shots-28 saves (1-6-2-0); Tri-City, Trombley 28-23 (8-3-0-1), Lee-Knight 13-10. Power plays - Seattle 1-6; Tri-City 0-5. A - 5,034. Referees - Brett Iverson, Ryan Benbow. Linesmen - Kevin Boris, Zach Brooks.