Thunderbirds top Petes 4-1 to set up date with Remparts in Memorial Cup final | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Thunderbirds top Petes 4-1 to set up date with Remparts in Memorial Cup final

Seattle Thunderbirds celebrate defeating the Peterborough Petes in semifinal CHL Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Friday, June 2, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Original Publication Date June 02, 2023 - 10:06 PM

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The Seattle Thunderbirds reached a point they've never been on Friday.

However, head coach Matt O'Dette was quick to point out that the mission isn't over just yet.

Kyle Crnkovic scored his tournament-leading fifth goal and added an assist as the Thunderbirds topped the Peterborough Petes 4-1 to book their ticket to the Memorial Cup final. It's the first time Seattle will play in the final in three tournament appearances.

"It's obviously special," O'Dette said with a stoic look. "But it's not done yet, we wanna win the ultimate prize.

"That was our goal from Day 1. Proud of the group (and) the drive to get here but we got one more job to do."

Brad Lambert, Colton Dach and Nico Myatovic had the other goals for Seattle, which got 27 saves from Thomas Milic.

The Western Hockey League champion Thunderbirds will next face the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts on Sunday.

"Just try to live in the moment," said Crnkovic, who was sent to Seattle by the Saskatoon Blades last August. "When I got traded here, they had a good thing going, just tried to hop on board.

"It's been a lot of fun and it's not over yet, try to get the last one done."

Quebec earned a final berth after opening the tournament with consecutive wins in the round-robin stage over the host Kamloops Blazers — who were eliminated by Peterborough in Thursday's tiebreaker — and Seattle.

Brennan Othmann replied for Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough. Michael Simpson had his second straight 43-save outing.

Several Petes players remained on the ice following the loss, embracing one another and some taking a knee with their heads down.

"It's hard," Peterborough head coach Rob Wilson said. "There's a lot of emotion, they put so much into this.

"I don't think we had too much left in the tank and they were trying, they were battling. Othmann gets that goal and we still feel we're in it and 'Can we do it again?' type of thing but unfortunately it's one of those things.

"It hurts now, the guys are hurting but they'll look back and be proud of their achievement."

After dropping their first two games — including a 6-3 loss to Seattle last Saturday — the Petes staved off elimination and forced the tiebreaker game with a 4-2 win over the Remparts on Tuesday. Peterborough scored four unanswered goals to defeat Kamloops 5-4 in overtime on Thursday to get into the semifinal game.

Othmann was emotional as he spoke to the closeness of the group.

"When you win a championship, it doesn't matter with what team, your bond builds more, " he said teary-eyed. "Played on two world junior teams and you're only on that team for a month and fortunate to have two gold medals (but) I still talk to all those guys.

"If you can imagine being with a team for a full year, winning a championship, just spending every day with those guys, it's special. We spend every single second together and that's why we won a (OHL) championship ... why we won is because of the brotherhood.

"That's what I'm gonna miss the most with this group."

Seattle, which outshot Peterborough 14-5 in a scoreless opening frame, missed on several scoring chances, as did the Petes with the few they had.

Simpson became an even brighter spot for much of the middle frame as Seattle continued to press.

After several missed chances, Lambert finally broke through for the Thunderbirds with 4:28 left in the second. He sent a backhand shot off a rebound that trickled through Simpson's legs for his first of the tournament.

Dach added to Seattle's lead 1:28 into the third period after a pass from Crnkovic.

Othmann put the Petes on the board just 1:13 later. Owen Beck sent the puck to Othmann with a turnaround pass and he beat Milic for his second.

Crnkovic — who had a hat trick in the teams' previous game — made it a two-goal lead at 9:33 after a scramble in front following a stop on a tipped shot.

Myatovic scored an empty-netter with 2:09 remaining after taking a cross-ice pass from Reid Schaefer just outside of Peterborough's zone.

Notes: Former women's national team members Manon Rheaume, Meghan Agosta and current team captain Marie-Philip Poulin were on hand for the ceremonial puck drop before the game.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2023.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2023
The Canadian Press

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