The Western Hockey League chose Scott Ratzlaff of the Seattle Thunderbirds as the Goaltender of the Month for December. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

The Western Hockey League chose Scott Ratzlaff of the Seattle Thunderbirds as the Goaltender of the Month for December. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds’ Ratzlaff chosen WHL Goaltender of the Month

Ratzlaff compiles 8-0-0-1 record in December for Kent-based team ranked No. 1 in the CHL

Scott Ratzlaff of the Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds has been named the Western Hockey League (WHL) Goaltender of the Month for December.

Ratzlaff, a ‘B’ rated (second or third round) prospect by NHL Central Scouting for the 2023 NHL Draft, posted an 8-0-0-1 record to go along with a 1.54 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and two shutouts this past month, according to the WHL website.

The 17-year-old allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his nine starts last month, earning shutouts versus Spokane Dec. 6 (36 saves) and Kelowna Dec. 31 (18 saves).

The product of Irma, Alberta assumed the reins as Seattle’s starting goaltender with teammate Thomas Milic representing Canada at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship for the last several weeks. Milic was named WHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Dec. 12.

Ratzlaff begins the month of January holding a share of the lead among WHL goaltenders with a .925 save percentage, while his 2.04 goals-against average is ranked second in the league. The 6-foot-2, 171-pound Ratzlaff leads the WHL with three shutouts.

Ratzlaff was originally selected by the Thunderbirds in the second round of the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft and in 42 appearances, holds a career 32-4-1-1 record, a 2.31 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and four shutouts according to the WHL website.

T-Birds remain No. 1

The T-Birds remained the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League’s Week 13 edition Jan. 3 of the Kia CHL Top-1o Rankings for the 2022-2023 season among 60 teams.

Seattle is 27-4-1-1 entering this week.

“The top team nationally following the holiday break, the Seattle Thunderbirds have since pushed their unbeaten in regulation streak to 13 games, with the recent stretch marked by pairs of wins over Spokane and Kelowna,” according to the CHL poll. “Even more impressive, the Thunderbirds continue to find the win column with a bevy of top talent away to the World Juniors, like forward Reid Schaefer, defensemen Kevin Korchinski and Nolan Allan, plus netminder Thomas Milic.”

The four play for Team Canada, which takes on the United States in a semifinal game on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Seattle returns to play Friday, Jan. 6 at the Regina Pats, the first of six road games. The T-Birds next home game is against the Lethbridge Hurricanes at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.

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