Goalie Roddy Ross made 33 saves to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 2-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Prince George Cougars on Sunday night at the accesso ShoWare Center.
Seattle (21-24-3-3) occupies the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference, nine points ahead of Prince George. The T-Birds are one point behind the Kelowna Rockets (23-25-1-2) for the first wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. The T-Birds and Rockets have one game remaining this season against each other, March 6 in Kelowna.
Ross had 12 saves in the first period, 11 in the second period and 10 more in the third period. He was at his best late in the third when the Cougars pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 7:24 of the first period. Andrej Kukuca and Conner Bruggen-Cate cycled the puck in the left corner. Bruggen-Cate skated into the left circle and took a wrist shot that rebounded off Prince George goalie Taylor Gauthier into the slot. Bruggen-Cate got his own rebound and snapped it past Gauthier for his 13th goal of the season.
Matthew Rempe scored his eighth goal of the season at 15:51 of the second period to give the T-Birds a 2-0 lead. Luke Bateman passed the puck up the left wing to Roulette who entered the zone. Roulette toe dragged the puck at the top of the left circle to create some space and then snapped at the net. Rempe was in the low slot and tipped the puck over Gauthier’s left shoulder.
Prince George cut the T-Birds lead to one at 16:23 of the second on a power-play goal by Ilijah Colina.
A season high 6,190 fans at the ShoWare Center on Saturday night saw the Thunderbirds battle Everett. The Silvertips won 5-2. … The T-Birds travel to Everett to take on the Silvertips at 7:35 p.m. Friday. They host the Vancouver Giants at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. … Hockey Challenge 2020 is Saturday and will feature seven games at the ShoWare Center, highlighted by Team Olczyk vs. Team Patterson in the Celebrity and T-Birds Alumni All-Star Game right following the WHL game. The 22nd annual Hockey Challenge supports operations of the Seattle Ronald McDonald House.
Single-game 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 2019-20 season.
First period – 1, Seattle, Bruggen-Cate 13 (Kukuca, Bauer), 7:24. Penalties – Bateman, Sea (cross checking), 8:34. Davidson, Sea (holding), 12:04. Bowie, PG (hooking), 18:50.
Second period – 2, Seattle, Rempe 8 (Roulette, Bateman), 15:51. 3, Prince George, Colina 9 (Maser, Mikhalchuk), 16:32 (pp). Penalties – Bruggen-Cate, Sea (double minor-roughing), 7:03. Kohner, PG (roughing), 7:03. Roulette, Sea (roughing), 13:37. Moberg, PG (roughing), 13:37. Bauer, Sea (double minor-high sticking), 16:13. McNelly, Sea (major-fighting, 10-minute misconduct), 17:53. Maser, PG (major-fighting), 17:53.
Third period – No scoring. Penalties – Moberg, PG (interference), 4:36.
Shots on goal – Seattle 12-16-8 36, Prince George 12-12-10 34. Goalies – Seattle, Ross 34 shots-33 saves (17-17-3-3); Prince George, Gauthier 36-34 (12-21-3-4). Power plays – Seattle 0-2; Prince George 1-5. Referees – Nick Panter, Troy Paterson. Linesmen – Justin Nicol, Eric MaLaughlin.