Thunderbirds beat Blazers to succeed in Memorial Cup semifinal

The Seattle Thunderbirds’ greatest efficiency on the Memorial Cup happy head coach Matt O’Dette, though it didn’t present in his stoic look.

Kyle Crnkovic and Jared Davidson every had a objective and two assists for the Thunderbirds in Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers to succeed in the event semifinal. 

Seattle will subsequent play Friday in opposition to the winner between Kamloops and the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes in Thursday’s tiebreaker.

“It’s up there,” O’Dette stated when requested the place the whole efficiency ranks in latest reminiscence. “That’s extra to the id and the crew that we may be. 

“That’s clearly our greatest recreation of the event, so we’re pleased with that. Shifting ahead, we have to duplicate that sort of effort.”

Lucas Ciona, Jordan Gustafson, Luke Prokop and Colton Dach additionally scored for the Western Hockey League champion T-Birds. Seattle starter Thomas Milic made 30 saves for the win.

“They’re an important crew . . . I feel we performed our model of recreation and it’s very onerous for groups to compete with us once we try this,” Prokop stated. “We performed a really well-rounded recreation. It’s simply tough for groups to maintain up with that.” 

The preparation for Friday’s semifinal has already begun, in accordance with O’Dette. He wasn’t involved about his crew getting overconfident.

“It’s a matter of staying even-keeled,” he stated. “We’ve been that crew over the course of the playoffs. Once we bought an enormous win we’ve put it apart and bought prepared for the subsequent recreation.

“We have now a veteran crew, been in some fairly huge conditions, so we’ve bought the expertise to not get too excessive. On this event all of the groups are wonderful and the subsequent problem is coming our means on Friday.”

Ryan Hofer scored the lone objective for the host Blazers with Dylan Ernst stopping 36 photographs.

“It wasn’t our greatest recreation. I believed that we appeared nervous, struggled finishing passes,” stated Kamloops head coach Shaun Clouston. “Hof scored an enormous objective so we’re 1-1, which is an actual optimistic. 

“A pair breakdowns, simply the turnover behind our finish, some actual obvious ones. I feel, once more, some guys gotta discover slightly extra confidence in opposition to that crew.” 

Peterborough — after opening the event with two straight losses — staved off elimination with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Quebec Remparts. 

The Remparts (2-1) have a bye to Sunday’s ultimate after beating each Seattle and Kamloops.

Ciona opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds 4:02 into the primary interval.

The captain despatched a lead move to a streaking Davidson, who fired a backhand shot that was stopped, however not managed, by Ernst. After a scramble in entrance, Ciona sniped the puck house for his second of the event.

A expensive Seattle mistake led to Kamloops drawing even at 10:50.

Kevin Korchinski turned the puck over to Daylan Kuefler as he appeared to go away his personal zone. Kuefler shortly dished it to Hofer, who wired the puck previous Milic from the proper faceoff circle.

However Davidson put the Thunderbirds forward with a power-play marker at 6:39 of the second interval.

The Blazers defence had a lapse when Dylan Guenther discovered Davidson open with an up-ice stretch move. Davidson drove in and fired the puck previous Ernst from the left faceoff circle.

Simply eight seconds later, the Thunderbirds capitalized on one other Blazers’ gaffe.

Kamloops defenceman Aapo Sarell turned the puck over behind the online to Crnkovic, who fed Gustafson in entrance of the online to beat Ernst for a 3-1 lead.

Seattle outshot the Blazers 29-19 via two heated intervals with quite a few skirmishes between the WHL foes.

Crnkovic padded the Thunderbirds’ lead at 5:33 of the third interval. He scored his team-leading fourth objective of the event with a degree shot that beat Ernst glove aspect.

Prokop made it 5-1 simply over a minute later. He scored from the slot on a move Brad Lambert meant for Guenther.

Dach scored with 5:32 remaining within the recreation when he took a move from Reid Schaefer from the proper faceoff circle, introduced the puck round Ernst and tucked it in.


The Thunderbirds and Blazers break up their four-game regular-season sequence and completed first and second within the Western Convention standings. The 2 met within the Western Convention championship sequence, with Seattle prevailing 4-2 within the best-of-seven matchup.

The Thunderbirds additionally ousted Kamloops within the 2022 convention ultimate in seven video games.

“It’s been an important little rivalry developed during the last couple of years,” O’Dette stated after apply Wednesday. “They’re an important crew, you understand, I feel they don’t get sufficient respect.”