Roddy Ross had 19 saves to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 2-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Victoria Royals at the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday night.
Seattle (27-28-6-2) is the second wild-card playoff team in the Western Conference. Seattle’s magic number to clinch the spot is four points – any combination of T-Birds wins and Kamloops Blazers loss equaling four.
The T-Birds play the Everett Silvertips at the ShoWare Center at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. The Blazers are at the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday. If the T-Birds win and the Blazers lose, Seattle will clinch the wild-card spot.
Ross’s biggest save came with 1:37 left in the game. Victoria, with its goalie on the bench, threw the puck at the net from the right corner on a sharp angle. The puck hit Ross and went behind him and was free in the crease. Ross leaned backward as all the players on the ice were on top of the crease and covered the puck.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead on Noah Philp’s power-play goal at 4:40 of the first period. Philp had the puck at the top of the right circle and fed it low to Matthew Wedman, who backhanded the puck to Henrik Rybinski in the slot. Rybinski took a shot and hit the left post. The puck rebounded back into the slot, and Philp snapped it past Victoria goalie Brock Gould for his 23rd goal of the season.
Philp made it 2-0 T-Birds at 17:47 of the second period. Payton Mount sprung Philp for a one-on-one break against a Victoria defenseman. Philp came down the left wing, made a move cutting to the slot and beat Gould with a wrist shot over the glove. Tyler Carpendale had the second assist.
Victoria cut the T-Birds lead to one with Igor Martynov’s power-play goal at 19:59 of the second.
Victoria pulled Gould with 2:14 left in the game for an extra attacker. After Ross’ sprawling save, the T-Birds iced the puck on the next shift. They called their timeout to regroup after the icing. The T-Birds were called for hooking with 15 seconds left to go down two men. Seattle was able to keep Victoria at bay for the last 15 seconds and win the game.
Gould finished with 30 saves.
For tickets, visit the T-Birds website or visit the ShoWare box office.
First period – 1, Seattle, Philp 23 (Rybinski, Wedman), 4:40 (pp). Penalties – Lamb, Vic (high-sticking), 4:00. Richards, Sea (interference), 10:41. Kubicek, Sea (roughing), 18:56. Prowse, Vic (roughing), 18:56. Sidaway, Vic (boarding), 19:23.
Second period – 2, Seattle, Philp 24 (Mount, Carpendale), 17:57. 3, Victoria, Martynov 11 (Prowse, Schultz), 19:59 (pp). Penalties – Bauer, Sea (high-sticking), 2:05. Wedman, Sea (boarding), 9:57. Volcan, Sea (roughing), 9:57. Doust, Vic (roughing), 9:57. Sidaway, Vic (checking to the head), 13:09. Williams, Sea (delay of game), 19:26.
Third period – No scoring. Penalties – Rybinski, Sea (hooking), 19:45.
Shots on goal – Seattle 14-10-8 32, Victoria 8-10-2 20. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 20 shots-19 saves (13-4-0-2); Victoria, Gould 32-30 (7-12-1-1). Power plays – Seattle 1-3; Victoria 1-5. A – 5,305. Referees – Kevin Bennett, Duncan Brow. Linesmen – Ron Dietterle, Nathan Van Oosten.