The Seattle Thunderbirds beat Prince George twice in Kent April 14-15 to open the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

The Seattle Thunderbirds beat Prince George twice in Kent April 14-15 to open the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

T-Birds beat Prince George twice in Kent to open second round of WHL playoffs

Seattle has won six consecutive playoff games

The Seattle Thunderbirds opened the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs with two consecutive victories over the Prince George Cougars last weekend at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.

Jared Davidson scored twice on the power play and Brad Lambert had a goal and three assists as the T-Birds won 5-1 in front of a crowd of 4,650 on Saturday night, April 15 in the best-of-seven series. Dylan Guenther scored twice and Lambert had three assists in a 4-1 win Friday night, April 14 in front of a crowd of 4,013 at the 6,200-seat arena.

The T-Birds swept the Kelowna Rockets in four games in the first round of the playoffs.

Seattle plays Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18-19 at Prince George, British Columbia for games three and four. If necessary, game five will be played at 7:05 p.m. at the ShoWare Center. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the Portland Winterhawks vs. Kamloops Blazers series for the Western Conference title.

Davidson, who opened the scoring in Saturday’s victory with a power play goal at 13 minutes, 12 seconds of the first period, said the special teams are finding their footing at the right time.

“I think we’re coming together,” Davidson said. “We’ve learned how to play with each other and how the systems can work, and it paid off today.”

The key point in the game came in the second period as Seattle, holding its one goal lead, ran into penalty trouble, giving Prince George a full two minute 5-on-3 power play. The T-Birds, led by goalie Thomas Milic, were able to kill it off.

“We were able to work as a unit,” Milic said of the penalty kill. “That really shows, that regardless of the situation we’re in, we’re able to step up and pull through. We did a great job of blocking shots and getting clears when we needed.”

Shortly after killing off the penalties, Seattle made it 2-0 when Lambert scored on a feed from Colton Dach at 9:23. Four minutes later, while skating four aside, Lambert assisted on Guenther’s eighth goal of the postseason.

As he did in game one’s 4-1-win, T-Birds coach Matt O’Dette like his team’s start in game two.

“I thought it was a pretty efficient first period overall,” he said. “We got everybody involved in the game. Then the special teams hit in the second. There was a lot of that, which took away some of the flow of the game, but it was a hard fought, physical playoff game.”

The T-Birds improved 4-0 on home ice in the 2023 postseason and Milic says the home crowd has been a big help.

“I think the crowd has been huge for us this year and I think on that (second period) penalty kill, that might have been the loudest I’ve ever heard this building,” Milici said.

O’Dette agreed with his goalie.

“The crowd was unbelievable,” he said. “I thought the roof came off a couple times tonight with the big 5-on-3 kill. That might have been the loudest I’ve heard it ever in this building.”

Guenther led the 4-1 victory in the series opener. A 2021 first-round pick of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, he was acquired at the WHL trade deadline to help the T-Birds make a long playoff run.

“It’s nice to contribute, to get on the scoresheet,” he said. “I’m playing with some good players and just want to continue to play the right way and good things will happen.”

T-Birds extras

Before the April 14 game, the T-Birds held a moment of silence for Andy Eide, who died earlier in the day. Eide, who covered the Thunderbirds for over a decade for various news outlets, suffered a stroke on March 18 while in the press box to report on a Seattle Kraken game at Climate Pledge Arena.

Thom Beuning, of the Seattle Thunderbirds, contributed to this article.


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Seattle’s Brad Lambert celebrates with teammates during a 5-1 win over Prince George on Saturday, April 15 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. Lambert had a goal and three assists. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Seattle’s Brad Lambert celebrates with teammates during a 5-1 win over Prince George on Saturday, April 15 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. Lambert had a goal and three assists. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

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