By Thom Beuning
The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds came up short in the Western Hockey League Championship Series, falling to the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-0, in game 6 Monday, June 13 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
With the win the Oil Kings win the series four games to two, to claim their third Ed Chynoweth Cup. Seattle won previous playoff rounds against the Kelowna Rockets, Portland Winterhawks and Kamloops Blazers.
Edmonton came out flying right off the bat and outshot Seattle, 21-4 in the first period. It led to the first goal of the game when Jakub Demek jumped on a rebound to score on the power play at 7:15. The T-birds kept it close because Thomas Milic continued his strong postseason in goal with 34 saves, many of the highlight variety.
Seattle was better in the second period, outshooting Edmonton, 12-9. But Edmonton was able to add to their lead when Kaden Guhle’s shot from the high slot made it past a screened Milic at 3:44.
Edmonton was able to clamp down on the T-birds the rest of the game, especially when Seattle had the man advantage. The T-birds finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play. Meanwhile Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa denied all 27 shots on the night, as the T-birds put 23 shots on goal the final two periods.
While Seattle came up two wins short, head coach Matt O’Dette knows they have no reason to hang their heads.
“A lot to be proud of,” he said. “What a group. Super resilient, a ton of character. …They continued to fight on. “We’re extremely proud of the group. What a great bunch of kids.”
Seattle finished 6-1 in do-or-die elimination games in the postseason.
This was the final game in the WHL for Henrik Rybinski, Ryan Gottfried, and Lukas Svejkovsky, who now age out in the ages 16-20 league. It was most likely also the final T-birds game for Matt Rempe, Sam Knazko and Tyrel Bauer.
Former T-birds defenseman Simon Kubicek was named the third star of the game. He and Edmonton are now off to the Memorial Cup in Saint John, New Brunswick.