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Cougars drop 5-1 decision to Thunderbirds; trail series 2-0

Brian Liesse photo

KENT, Wash. – Jared Davidson scored twice on the power play, Brad Lambert had a goal and three assists, and the Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Prince George Cougars, 5-1, Saturday at the accesso ShoWare Center in Game Two of their second-round playoff series. Seattle leads the best-of-seven matchup, 2-0. The series resumes Tuesday with Game Three at the CN Centre In Prince George. Game Time is 7 p.m.

Seattle was inconsistent during the regular season with the man advantage, finishing 15th in the 22-team league on the power play at 20.6-percent. Through six playoff games the Thunderbirds are 7-for-20 on the man advantage, or 35 per cent, including 5-for-3 in Game Two.

Davidson, who opened the scoring with a power play goal at 13:12 of the first period, said the special teams are finding their footing at the right time. “I think we’re coming together,” he remarked. “We’ve learned how to play with each other and how the systems can work, and it paid off today.”

The key point in the game came in the second period as Seattle, holding their one goal lead, ran into penalty trouble, giving Prince George a full two minute 5-on-3 power play. The T-Birds, led by goalie Thomas Milic, were able to kill it off.

“We were able to work as a unit,” commented Milic of the penalty kill. “That really shows, that regardless of the situation we’re in, we’re able to step up and pull through. We did a great job of blocking shots and getting clears when we needed.”

Shortly after killing off the penalties, Seattle made it 2-0 when Lambert scored on a feed from Colton Dach at 9:23. Four minutes later, while skating four aside, Lambert assisted on Dylan Guenther’s eighth goal of the postseason.

As he did in Game One’s 4-1-win, Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette like his team’s start in Game Two.

“I thought it was a pretty efficient first period overall,” he said. “We got everybody involved in the game. Then the special teams hit in the second. There was a lot of that, which took away some of the flow of the game, but it was a hard fought, physical playoff game.”

The Cougars got on the board just 14 seconds into the third period on an Ondrej Becher unassisted goal, but Seattle answered back with a Kyle Crnkovic power play goal five minutes later. With Seattle back on the power play late, Davidson added his second of the game at 19:16 to finish off the scoring.

The Thunderbirds are now 4-0 on home ice in the 2023 postseason and Milic says the home crowd has been a big help. “I think the crowd has been huge for us this year and I think on that (second period) penalty kill, that might have been the loudest I’ve ever heard this building.”

O’Dette agreed with his goalie. “The crowd was unbelievable. I thought the roof came off a couple times tonight with the big 5-on-3 kill. That might have been the loudest I’ve heard it ever in this building.”

Game Four is also set for the CN Centre in Prince George on Wednesday.  Should Game Five be necessary, it would be back in Kent next Friday.

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