KENT, Wash. –Lukas Svejkovksy’s goal early in the third period was the difference as the Seattle Thunderbirds squeezed past the Kamloops Blazers, 2-1, in Game Six of the WHL Western Conference Championship Series at the accesso ShoWare Center Sunday. The win evens the best of seven series at three games apiece. The decisive Game Seven is Tuesday at 7:00 pm at the Sandman Center in Kamloops.
Svejkovsky, acquired by the T-birds back in December from Medicine Hat, also has an assist but said he’s a goal scorer and that’s what Seattle brought him here to do. “I love scoring goals, just as much as anyone else. They (the goal and assist) were both exciting though. They were both big momentum swings. It was definitely good to get both of them.”
It was also the fourth time in the 2022 postseason Seattle has won a game to stave off elimination, after doing it three times in Round Two against Portland. T-birds head coach Matt O’Dette put all the credit on his players, especially his veterans. “The guys have no quit in them. They’ve shown their resiliency all season long and it starts with the leadership group. There’s a lot of belief in our room and it shows in how we’re playing.”
Kamloops once again opened the scoring, getting their only goal at 12:53 of the first period from Kobe Verbicky. T-birds netminder Thomas Milic would shut the door on them the rest of the way. “Goaltending is a big part of having success in the postseason,” said O’Dette. “Our guys have been great. He’s been there for us time and time again and tonight was another example of that.”
The Thunderbirds tied it at 1-1 at 4:42 of the second period as Jared Davidson one timed a Svejkovsky pass from behind the Blazer net for his ninth of the playoffs. Henrik Rybinski has the second assist.
It was Davidson’s first goal since Game Three. “It’s super nice to get the puck back in the net after a few games without one,” he said. “It was a couple of frustrating games but if we’re winning that’s all that matters. It was a beautiful pass by Svej. It was nice to put that one in.”
That set up the Svejkovsky heroics early in the third period. Tyrel Bauer got the puck to Davidson at center ice. He skated into the Kamloops zone and dropped it back to Svejkovsky, who made a move to the net. From there, Svejkovsky said instinct took over. “It almost happened. I tried to attack his (the defender’s) stick. Once I got past him it was just me and the goalie and I made a move and luckily it ended up in the back of the net.”
The winner of Game Seven will face the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Championship Series beginning Friday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Dating back to the 2017 postseason, the T-birds have won four straight playoff Game Sixes.
O’Dette acknowledged the crowd bringing the energy into the building. “They were great. What else can we say about our fans. They prove it time and time again that they’re the best fans in the league. There energy and their support for us is overwhelming.”
Full box score: WHL Network