The Seattle Thunderbirds are going back to the Western Hockey League playoffs.
Beating Spokane 4-2 Friday night in front of 5,373 at accesso ShoWare Center punched their ticket to a 6th straight post-season.
Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette says it felt good to get a big win.
“We want to handle our own business,” he said following the game. “We’re trying to play our best hockey down the stretch and try and climb as high as we can in the standings.”
Seattle overcame one goal deficits twice. Zack Andrusiak first tied the game at one at 17:04 of the opening period with a 4 on 3 power play goal. He tied it again at 8:49 of the second to make it 2-2.
O’Dette credits Andrusiak for stepping up his game on both ends of the ice
“He’s committed. He wants to be a hockey player. He’s doing the little things you need to do to improve as a player.”
The turning point came at the 16:16 mark of the third period. The first of Strand’s two third period goals came on assists from Nolan Volcan and center Matthew Wedman. A play inspired by the NHL,
“We ran a face-off play there,” explained O’Dette. “The guys actually picked that one up on TV from an NHL game the other night. They executed it well.”
The tally gave the Thunderbirds their first lead at 3-2. It was reality TV says Volcan.
“I was watching highlights of Buffalo and Toronto. They (Sabres)tried it and got a lucky bounce off a skate. I just rolled around the circle and once I got to the goal line, I didn’t see Strander actually. I just sent it over and he timed it well and it worked perfectly. That was nice. Big win.”
Seattle goalie Liam Hughes held off the Chiefs in key situations, turning in another solid performance making 25 saves on 27 shots.
“He’s been great,” says O’Dette. “He’s confident and the guys are confident with him back there. He’s there for us.”
The T-Birds have five games left with room for improvement in playoff seeding. Andrusiak says they’re not done yet,
“We’re still trying to catch Tri. We still believe we can do that. We’re pushing. We’re not content to be in the eighth spot.”