KENT, Wash. — Lukas Svejkovksy’s goal early in the third period was the difference maker as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Kamloops Blazers, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Premier League Conference Championship Series. WHL West at the Accesso ShoWare Center on Sunday. The win ties the best of seven series at three games apiece. Game 7 will be decided Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Sandman Center in Kamloops.
Svejkovsky, acquired by the T-Birds in December from Medicine Hat, also got an assist but said he was a scorer and that’s why Seattle brought him here. “I love scoring goals, as much as anyone else. They (the goal and the assist) were both exciting. They were both great leaps of momentum. It was really good to have them both.
It was also the fourth time in the 2022 playoffs that Seattle had won a game to avoid elimination, having done so three times in the second round against Portland. T-Birds head coach Matt O’Dette gave all the credit to his players, especially his veterans. “Guys have no surrender in them. They have shown their resilience throughout the season and it starts with the leadership squad. There is a lot of confidence in our room and it shows in the way we play.
Kamloops once again opened the scoring, getting their only goal at 12:53 of the first period from Kobe Verbicky. T-Birds goaltender Thomas Milic closed the door on them all the way. “Goalkeeping is a big part of playoff success,” O’Dette said. “Our guys have been great. He has been there for us time and time again and tonight was another example.
The Thunderbirds tied it 1-1 at 4:42 of the second period as Jared Davidson timed a pass from Svejkovsky behind the Blazer net for his ninth of the playoffs. Henrik Rybinski got the second assist.
It was Davidson’s first goal since Game 3. “It’s great fun to get the puck back in the net after a few games without one,” he said. “It was a few frustrating games, but if we win, that’s all that matters. It was a nice pass by Svej. It was good to put that one.
That set up Svejkovsky’s exploits early in the third period. Tyrel Bauer handed the puck to Davidson at center ice. He skated into the Kamloops area and brought it back to Svejkovsky, who made a move to the net. From there, Svejkovsky said instinct took over. “It happened so fast. I tried to attack his stick (the defender). Once I got past him it was just me and the goalkeeper and I made a move and luckily it ended in the back of the net.
The Game 7 winner will face the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Championship Series beginning Friday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Since the 2017 playoffs, the T-Birds have won four consecutive playoff games.
O’Dette recognized the crowd bringing the energy into the building. “They were great. What else can we say about our fans. They prove time and time again that they are the best fans in the league. Their energy and support for us is overwhelming.
Full box score: WHL Network