Seattle Thunderbirds: Ready for the Playoffs

Matt Paige Profile PicYour Seattle Thunderbirds continue to prepare for the 2015 WHL Playoffs.

This past weekend they played a split home/home series with the local Everett Silvertips. Make no mistake, this was a battle for positioning within the playoffs that had serious implications on the postseason.

Seattle Splits the Series

Friday night at ShoWare Center, the Silvertips arrived sitting in first place with a tenuous lead over the Portland Winterhawks. The T-Birds had their own small lead to be concerned about as well with the Spokane Chiefs winning earlier that night.

The game began with a quick back and forth goal tying up at 1-1. The T-Birds consistently pressured Carter Hart in the Everett net, leading the game in shots on goal with a flurry in the first period.   After a scoreless second period, things got interesting again in the 3rd with a beautiful pass from Wardley to Lipsbergs and into the net.

Not one to take it sitting down, Everett tied the game with just 2 minutes left. The game went into overtime and from there to a shootout. With both Lipsbergs and Jerret Smith scoring, the T-Birds won the night 3-2.

Saturday Night Fever

Unfortunately, the T-Birds were unable to keep the win streak flowing into the following night at Xfinity Arena in Everett. They wound up falling to the Silvertips 3-1.  Everett seemed to have made adjustments from the night before and wound up nearly shutting out the Birds.

Ryan Gropp provided the one bright spot with 1:12 left in the game, scoring the Bird’s only goal. Taran Kozun had been pulled from the net to add the extra attacker, and the gamble paid off. Everett out-shot the T-Birds 42-20 in the game and generally dominated, looking like the division 1 seed they are.

SSU Player of the Week
Roberts Lipsbergs – Scoring 2 goals friday night, and adding another in the shootout to win.

Next Side Up

This coming week will be a big one for the Thunderbirds. They close out the season on Saturday at ShoWare Center in what will be a very important game against Portland. Their first round opponent has not been determined as of yet for the playoffs. It could be the Everett Silvertips or the Portland Winterhawks. Both teams will provide fierce competition and be tough to get past.

But if the TBirds can continue to press the offensive button like they did on Friday night, they should be looking good in the playoffs.

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Matt Paige is the Baseball Managing Editor and a regular contributor on SSU TV and for Seahawks Football. He also writes the column "The Call-Up" and is a rabid fan of all teams Seattle (Except the Huskies. Go Ducks!).