*This was originally posted May 28, 2022*
The Kamloops Blazers have put themself in a position to advance to the WHL Championship Series, they just need to pick up one more win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. However, the next game in the series is set to be at the accesso ShoWare Center and, at home, the Thunderbirds won’t make it easy for the Blazers.
Games four and five both took overtime to find a winner, with both Seattle and Kamloops taking one during the bonus hockey period. However, game five gave the Blazers the lead and the Thunderbirds find themself with their back against a wall. This isn’t new territory for the Thunderbirds this postseason. They went down 3-1 in their series against the Portland Winterhawks and yet came back to win three straight and eliminate their biggest rival. Being down 3-2 in the series just means we might see another game seven.
That being said, the Blazers have looked impressive throughout the postseason, with Logan Stankoven being a highlight reel on his own in every game. With the news that Kamloops will be hosting the 2023 Memorial Cup, the Blazers have been given even more life, and it may help lift them to the WHL Championships.
In game five, the Thunderbirds opened the scoring for the first time in the series, with Dallas Stars prospect Conner Roulette picking up the first goal of the game 1:51 into the first period. However, it took just under five minutes for Matthew Seminoff to draw things even for the Blazers, and that was all the scoring the fans saw in the first 20 minutes.
Coming out strong yet again in the second period, Lukas Svejkovsky restored the lead for the Thunderbirds 2:32 into the middle frame, but that would be the last lead Seattle would have in the game. 8:24 into the second period, Daylan Kuefler would tie the game once again, and heading into the third period, it was still anyone’s game.
The third period saw Connor Levis strike first for the Blazers just under five minutes into the final frame, giving Kamloops their first lead of the game. It wouldn’t be a safe lead, however, as Kevin Korchinski lit the lamp just over halfway through the third period, and if you weren’t stressed watching this game, please share your secret.
In overtime, it took five minutes and 39 seconds to find the game-winner, and it came off the stick of Kuefler for his second of the night.
Both the Blazers and Thunderbirds finished 0/2 on the power play.
In net for the Thunderbirds, Thomas Milic stopped 28-of-32 shots while on the other end of the ice, Dylan Garand was outstanding, stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced.