Thunderbirds sweep Americans | WHL playoffs

Await Everett-Victoria survivor in second round

The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 5-2 Friday night at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, sweeping the best-of-seven, first-round Western Hockey League playoff series.

The T-Birds will play either the Everett Silvertips or Victoria Royals in the second round of the playoffs. The Silvertips, who lead the series against Victoria 3-2, go for the clincher in Game 6 at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in Victoria. Game 7, if necessary, is 7:05 p.m. Tuesday in Everett.

Seattle goalie Carl Stankowski had 28 saves in Game 4 to get his fourth win of the playoffs.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead at 3:01 of the first period on a power-play goal from Alexander True. Ethan Bear skated the puck from the left point down the left-wing wall. Bear backhanded the puck to True in the high slot. True took a stride and put a wrist shot on goal that beat Tri-City goalie Rylan Parenteau over the glove. Keegan Kolesar had the second assist on the goal.

Tri-City tied the game 1-1 at 6:19 of the first on a goal from Kyle Olson.

The T-Birds took a 2-1 lead with one second left in the first period. Scott Eansor sent the puck from the right corner to Bear at the right point as time wound down. Bear threw the puck at the net. Bear’s shot rebounded off Parenteau and into the slot. Nolan Volcan fought through a check and snapped the rebound pass the Americans’ goalie just before the horn.

Tri-City outshot Seattle 12-10 in the first period.

The Americans tied the game 2-2 at 3:58 of the second period on a Nolan Yaremko put-back.

The T-Birds went in front for good at 16:56 of the second period. Austin Strand sprung Sami Moilanen and Donovan Neuls on a two-on-one break. Moilanen carried the puck down the right wing. In the left circle Moilanen made a saucer pass to Neuls in the slot. Neuls waited, and as Parenteau dived over, he put a wrist shot over the goalie for his third goal of the playoffs.

Moilanen scored with 40 seconds left in the second period to give the T-Birds a 4-2 lead going into the second intermission. Parenteau stopped Moilanen on a breakaway but the puck slid to the goalie’s left behind the goal line. Strand got to the puck and fed Moilanen to the right of the goal. Moilanen beat Parenteau as he tried to get back to the crease.

Both teams had 12 shots on goal in the second period. Tri-City led 24-22 in shots after two periods.

The Americans pulled Parenteau for an extra attacker with 3:55 left in the game.

The T-Birds sealed the series sweep when True scored an empty-net goal at 18:33 of the third period. The goal came after a massive scramble in front of Stankowski that involved all six Americans and all five T-Birds skaters. Kolesar fished the puck out of the pileup and was able to spring True on a breakaway. True hit the empty net from just inside the Tri-City blue line.

The T-Birds outshot the Americans 10-6 in the third period and 32-30 in the game.

Parenteau made 27 saves on 31 shots in the loss.



Second-round playoff schedule

The T-Birds have confirmed the dates of a possible second-round series against Everett and the first two games of a possible second-round series against Victoria.

Seattle vs. Everett

Game 1, Seattle at Everett, Friday, April 7, 7:35 p.m.

Game 2, Seattle at Everett, Saturday, April, 8 7:05 p.m.

Game 3, Everett at Seattle, Tuesday, April, 11 7:05 p.m.

Game 4, Everett at Seattle, Friday, April 14, 7:35 p.m.

Game 5, Seattle at Everett, Saturday, April 15, 7:05 p.m.*

Game 6, Everett at Seattle, Tuesday, April 18, 7:05 p.m.*

Game 7, Seattle at Everett, Wednesday, April 19, 7:05 p.m.*

*if necessary

Possible second-round series vs. Victoria

Game 1, Victoria at Seattle, Saturday, April 8, 7:05 p.m.

Game 2, Victoria at Seattle, Sunday, April 9, 5:05 p.m.

Games 3 through 7 of a possible second-round series against Victoria have not yet been confirmed. The remaining dates for a second-round series against Victoria will be announced once they have been confirmed.

Single-game tickets for the second-round playoff series against either Everett or Victoria will go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the ShoWare Center box office and online at the T-Birds website.


First period – 1, Seattle, True 2 (Bear, Kolesar), 3:01 (pp). 2, Tri-City, Olson 1 (Coghlan, Wotherspoon), 6:19. 3, Seattle, Volcan 2 (Bear, Eansor), 19:59. Penalties – Wotherspoon, Tri (tripping), 1:33. Sandhu, Tri (high-sticking), 6:24. True, Sea (hooking), 11:08. Bear, Sea (cross checking), 16:18.

Second period – 4, Tri-City, Yaremko 1 (AuCoin, James), 3:58. 5, Seattle, Neuls 3 (Moilanen, Strand), 16:56. 6, Seattle, Moilanen 1 (Strand), 19:20. Penalties – O’Reily, Tri (roughing), 1:25. Volcan, Sea (roughing), 1:25. Geekie, Tri (slashing), 10:43. Olson, Tri (roughing), 14:55. Bishop, Sea (roughing), 14:55.

Third period – 7, Seattle, True 3 (Kolesar), 18:33 (en). Penalties – Harsch, Sea (delay of game), 3:52.

Shots on goal – Seattle 10-12-10 32, Tri-City 12-12-6 30. Goalies – Seattle, Stankowski 30 shots-28 saves (4-0-0); Tri-City, Parenteau 31-27 (0-3-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-3; Tri-City 0-3. A – 3,020. Referees – Ryan Benbow, Kyle Kowalski. Linesmen – Michael Bean, Nathan Van Oosten.