COURTESY IMAGE, Seattle Thunderbirds

T-Birds to play Portland Winterhawks in WHL playoffs

Second-round series starts Saturday, May 7 at ShoWare Center in Kent

The Seattle Thunderbirds will open the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs against the rival Portland Winterhawks at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.

Seattle advanced when it beat the Kelowna Rockets four games to one in the best-of-seven, first-round series, including a 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday, April 30 at the ShoWare Center.

Portland swept Prince George in its opening round. The Vancouver Giants upset the Everett Silvertips four games to two and will play the Kamloops Blazers in the second round. Kamloops swept its series against the Spokane Chiefs.

The Winterhawks beat Seattle nine out of 13 games in the regular season, including a 5-4 win on April 2, the last time the two teams played. Portland has won four consecutive games against the T-Birds, which last beat the Winterhawks 5-1 on Feb. 19.

Forwards Tyson Kozak (8 goals, 6 assists) and Cross Hanas (5G-9A) registered 14 points apiece for the Winterhawks, leading all skaters in scoring during the season series. For Seattle, veterans Reid Schaefer (6G-5A) and Jared Davidson (3G-8A) tallied 11 points each.

In net, Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Taylor Gauthier joined the Winterhawks prior to the WHL trade deadline and proceeded to earn six wins over the T-Birds, going 6-2-0-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Seattle netminder Thomas Milic went 4-6-0-2 in 12 appearances against Portland, including a 2.91 GAA and .913 save percentage.

Matt Rempe’s second goal of the game, at 1:20 of overtime, led the T-Birds in their playoff win against Kelowna.

Ticket prices

Ticket prices for the Portland games at Seattle are $52 for club, $48 for glass, $38 for center ice, $34 for lower end and premium and $19 to $24 for north zone.

For tickets, go to

Attendance woes

Large crowds have yet to return to the city-owned ShoWare Center to watch the T-Birds, which also drew small crowds during the regular season.

With a playoff series against rival Portland, the numbers might start to climb.

Attendance at the three home games against Kelowna were 2,178 fans on Friday, April 22; 2,585 on Saturday, April 23; and 2,201 on Friday, April 29.

Kelowna drew 3,677 and 3,515 for its two playoff home games against Seattle.

In the 2019 playoffs against Vancouver, the T-Birds had home crowds of 4,425; 2,270; and 3,113. In 2018 against rival Everett, home crowds were 5,600 and 4,175.

Seattle-Portland playoff series

• 1 Portland at Seattle, Saturday, May 7, 6:05 p.m.

• 2 Seattle at Portland, Sunday, May 8, 5 p.m.

• 3 Seattle at Portland, Wednesday, May 11, 7 p.m.

• 4 Portland at Seattle, Friday, May 13, 7:05 p.m.

• 5 * Seattle at Portland, Saturday, May 14, 6 p.m.

• 6 * Portland at Seattle, Monday, May 16, 7:05 p.m.

• 7 * Seattle at Portland ,Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m.

* If necessary

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