The big lights were shining at the big arena in Winnipeg as the Thunderbirds, and ICE took to the ice at Canada Life Center for the WHL Championship Finals. The stars of each team were not intimidated by the big league arena as they would put on a show for the Winnipeg fans. This series really has started just like everyone thought it would. High flying, highly skilled and hard-working. Every inch was earned in these first two games.

Game 1: ICE 3 – Thunderbirds 2

Winnipeg came out flying in their first home game of the WHL Finals, scoring two goals in the first period. Connor McClennon would get the party started with a powerplay goal 9:13 into the first, and Evan Friesen would add another about five minutes later. The ICE were really feeding off the crowd and the big arena energy in the first two periods. Latimer would make it 3-0 at the seven-minute mark of the second. The Thunderbirds would not go away that easy as Nashville Predators prospect Reid Schaefer would get Seattle on the board just 28 seconds into the third. Korchinski would then pull the Thunderbirds within one with just under two to go. Unfortunately for Seattle, it would just be too little too late, as the ICE would skate to a Game 1 victory.

The ICE stars came to play as they would shine brighter in this first game. McClennon, Benson, Ostapchuk and Geekie would all find the score sheet for the ICE. Owen Pederson would lead the ICE with two assists in the game, and Daniel Hauser would finish the game with 27 saves.

Game 2: ICE 2 – Thunderbirds 4

This game seemed like it was going to start the same as Game 1, with Zach Benson starting the scoring at the 4:11 mark of the first. The Thunderbirds would eventually respond with a goal by Hanzel in the second. The third is when the Thunderbirds would take a stranglehold on the game. Hometown prospect Brad Lambert would break the tie five minutes in, with Schaffer adding another only 8 seconds later. Benson would get his second to bring the ICE within one with plenty of time. Sadly for the ICE, Benson would be the only one to beat Milic, as Lambert would also get his second to secure the Game 2 win for Seattle.

Seattle’s big guns came out in this one, with Guenther racking up three assists while Lambert would get two goals. Milic would stop 29 or 31 in the game while ICEs Daniel Hauser tried everything he could to help save 35 of 39 shots he faced.

This series seems like it will be a fun one with two very talented teams. These are probably two of the most evenly-matched teams in the WHL, hence why they are in the finals. With the two first games being very close games, we should expect it to be that way for the rest of the series. The most unfortunate fact is that one of these teams will have to go home. So sit back and enjoy this while it last because I sure will be.