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Thunderbirds Fire Past Spokane

February 5, 2023 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Seattle Thunderbirds News Release


KENT, Wash. -the Seattle Thunderbirds poured 52 shots on goal and defeated the Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, Sunday at the accesso ShoWare Center. The win puts Seattle back on top in the Western Conference with a 36-9-1-1 record, one point ahead of the idle Portland Winterhawks with a game in hand. The Thunderbirds next game is Friday when they host the Red Deer Rebels, who are coached by former Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Thunderbirds head coach Matt O'Dette said his team followed the game plan he set out. "That was a focal point tonight, Part of our problem was being too selective (with shots) last night. We wanted to get more to the net. We were extra direct tonight, which led to a lot of chances."

They needed that volume as Spokane goalie Cooper Michaluk was stout, making 49 saves. "Obviously their goalie had a good game, said O'Dette "But if we do that more often than not, we'll score more."

Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic wasn't tested as much, facing only 21 shots but with most of the game played at the other end of the ice, he kept his focus. "Props to their goalie he was playing sharp, and I wanted to do the same." It was a nice bounce back after he allowed five goals in his last start on Friday. "You have to have a short memory, playing so many games in a short amount of time. I think as a team we did a good job of not worrying about last night, or the night before that."

The Thunderbirds took a one goal lead into the first intermission thanks to a Jeremy Hanzel goal at 4:51 of the first period, finding a way to beat Michaluk with a shot from the blue line. "Just putting pucks on net. You never know what will happen. I don't know if he saw the puck or not, but good things happen when you throw the puck on net."

Seattle scored again early in period two with a Brad Lambert power play goal at 2:59. The Chiefs closed to within a goal midway through the third period thanks to Cade Hayes, but Seattle closed the door in the final minute when Kyle Crnkovic scored into an empty net.

Jared Davidson assisted on all three Thunderbirds goals. He said the team didn't get frustrated with so many shots and scoring chances being stopped by the Chief's goalie. "We try to stay levelheaded. It can be tough when a goalie is playing like that. The last couple of games they've been standing on their heads, but we try to stay composed and play our game."

After their home game Friday against Red Deer, Seattle heads down Interstate-5 Saturday to play the Portland Winterhawks.

T-BIRDS EXTRAS

Kyle Crnkovic's empty net goal was his 275th career point in the WHL.

With three assists Jared Davidson is six points shy of 200 points as a Thunderbirds. He is also two goals shy of reaching 90 goals in his career.

Brad Lambert scored the game winning goal in each of Seattle's two wins this weekend.

Before the game the NHL's Arizona Coyotes announced they have reassigned Dylan Guenther to the Thunderbirds. Guenther was the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Seattle acquired his rights January 10th from the Edmonton Oil Kings. O'Dette said Guenther will help the Thunderbirds improving power play. "Special teams are trending in the right direction. Guenther is a really nice add for the power play. That will help us, and Lambert has helped us already. We'll continue to work on it, develop some chemistry and go from there."


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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