Matthew Wedman had two goals to help lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to 6-4 Western Hockey League win over the Kamloops Blazers at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday night.
Seattle (25-28-5-2) holds the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference with a five-point lead over the Blazers (23-30-4-2), who have a game in hand on the T-Birds.
Seattle struck shorthanded at 8:02 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Tyrel Bauer got the puck to Wedman in center ice. Wedman chipped the puck past a Kamloops defenseman, chased down the puck and beat Kamloops goalie Dylan Ferguson with a hard wrist shot over the glove for his 34th goal of the season.
Wedman has a 11-game point streak with 11 goals and eight assists in the last 11 games.
The T-Birds made it 2-0 at 10:32 of the first on Noah Philp’s unassisted goal. Philp carried the puck into the offensive zone on the left wing and cut through the high slot. Philp came at Ferguson, forcing the goalie down, slid to his right and beat Ferguson from a sharp angle as the goalie sprawled to try and make the save.
Philp has a 10-game point streak with three goals and 10 assists in the last 10 games.
Kamloops cut the T-Birds lead in half at 13:18 of the first on a goal from Kobe Mohr.
Wedman scored at 3:25 of the second period, his second goal of the game, to put the T-Birds in front 3-1. Nolan Volcan got the puck along the right boards, spun and found Wedman skating into the slot. Wedman beat Ferguson over the blocker for his 35th goal of the season.
Kamloops scored two goals in 38 seconds in the second to tie the game 3-3. Josh Pillar scored at 11:41 and Orrin Centazzo scored at 12:19.
Andrej Kukuca grabbed the lead back for the T-Birds at 14:04 of the second on the power play. Philp had the puck along the right boards. Philp passed the puck to Jarret Tyszka at the right point. Tyszka crossed the puck to Kukuca in the left circle. Kukuca beat Ferguson over the glove with traffic in front of the goalie for his 24th goal of the season.
The Blazers tied the game 4-4 at 18:25 of the second on a goal from Connor Zary.
Henrik Rybinski put the T-Birds in front for good at 6:46 of the third period. Philp carried the puck up ice on a three-on-two break. Philp crossed the blue line and fed the puck to Kukuca in the right circle. Kukuca took a shot a wrist shot that rebounded off Ferguson to Rybinski to the left of the goal. Rybinksi put back the puck as the goalie tried to slide over and make the save.
Volcan scored an unassisted goal at 10:03 of the third to make it a 6-4 lead. Volcan came down the right wing and put a wrist shot over Ferguson’s glove for his 21st goal of the season.
Kamloops pulled Ferguson for an extra attacker with 2:42 left in the game. The Blazers kept the puck in the offensive zone for a minute and half.
The T-Birds blocked several shots, and Roddy Ross made several save to keep the Blazers from a fifth goal.
The T-Birds were able to clear the puck into the neutral zone with 1:20 left, but were unable to change their defensemen. The Blazers pressured for another 30 seconds before Ross made a save.
The Blazers called a timeout with 50 seconds left, but were unable to mount the sustained pressure they had earlier with Ferguson on the bench. The horn sounded as the Blazers were bringing the puck up the ice.
Ross finished with 42 saves and improves his record to 12-4-0-2.
Ferguson had 25 saves, and his record is 17-23-4-1.
The T-Birds have eight games remaining in the regular season. They play the Silvertips at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. They host the Tri-City Americans at 5:05 p.m. Sunday at the accesso ShoWare Center.
Tickets are on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare box office.
Fans who purchase the 24-flex ticket package will be able to select any available premium seat for any game, in any ticket combination, during the 2018-19 season.
First period – 1, Seattle, Wedman 34 (Bauer), 8:02. 2, Kamloops, Philp 22, 10:30. 3, Kamloops, Mohr 7 (Schmiemann), 13:18. Penalties – Onyebuchi, Kam (major-fighting), :38. Williams, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct, major-fighting), :38. Lee, Sea (hooking), 7:40. Williams, Kam (slashing), 17:37.
Second period – 4, Seattle, Wedman 35 (Volcan), 3:25. 5, Kamloops, Pillar 6 (Zary, Schmiemann), 11:41. 6, Kamloops, Centazzo 16 (Franklin, Stuart), 11:41. 7, Seattle, Kukuca 24 (Philp, Tyszka), 14:04 (pp). Penalties – Jeri-Leon, Sea (hooking), 6:05. Zazula, Kam (high-sticking), 6:46. Williams, Sea (hooking), 10:27. Schmiemann, Kam (cross checking), 13:56.
Third period – 9, Seattle, Rybinski 6 (Kukuca, Philp), 6:46 (pp). 10, Seattle, Volcan 21, 10:03. Penalties – Kukuca, Sea (roughing), 1:18. Zazula, Kam (roughing), 1:18. Centazzo, Kam (slashing), 5:40. Caller, Kam (roughing), 10:03. Williams, Sea (tripping), 12:37. Richards, Sea (roughing), 20:00. Loewen, Kam (roughing), 20:00. Stuart, Kam (roughing), 20:00.
Shots on goal – Seattle 7-9-15 31, Kamloops 16-15-15 46. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 46 shots-42 saves (12-4-0-2); Kamloops, Ferguson 31-26 (17-23-4-1). Power plays – Seattle 2-4; Kamloops 1-5. A – 3,519. Referees – Steve Papp, Ward Pateman. Linesmen – Dave McMahon, Cody Wanner.