The Seattle Thunderbirds captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup that goes to the Western Hockey League champion for the first time in franchise history on Sunday night, winning a best-of-seven series with the Regina Pats in six games.
REGINA, Saskatchewan – The Seattle Thunderbirds captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time in franchise history on Sunday night.
They did it in dramatic fashion when Alexander True scored with 7:24 left in overtime to beat the Regina Pats 4-3 before 6,484 fans at the Brandt Centre.
“I don’t really have any words to describe it,” True said. “It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before.”
Seattle vs. Regina. Seattle wins series 4-2.
Game 1: Seattle 2-1 (OT)
Game 2: Regina 4-3 (OT)
Game 3: Regina 3, Seattle 2
Game 4: Seattle 6, Regina 1
Game 5: Seattle 7, Regina 4
Game 6: Seattle 4, Regina 3 (OT)
Seattle won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will represent the Western Hockey League at the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ontario.
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The Thunderbirds have six Saskatchewan-born players, and a healthy contingent of local T-birds’ supporters gathered at the east end to celebrate as the players took turns parading around the ice with the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
“Seeing the crowd we had, it felt like home ice. Without them I don’t think we could have done it,” proclaimed defenseman Ethan Bear of Ochapowace, Saskatchewan. “It’s amazing to look at all my family and all my friends. I’m not the only guy from Sask so I bet they feel the same. It couldn’t be any better.”
T-birds left winger Tyler Adams is from Regina and said he couldn’t imagine a better place to celebrate his team’s first league championship than at home among family and friends.
“This is definitely No. 1 on the list,” beamed Adams, a longtime Pats fan. “It’s hard to put into words. It’s so surreal right now. Growing up watching this team and winning it on home ice, it feels unbelievable.”
Special teams played a huge role in the first five games of the series and Game 6 was no different.
Regina opened the scoring 7:18 into the contest with a power-play goal from Sam Steel, whose one-timer from the slot beat goalie Carl Stankowski.
Pats netminder Tyler Brown made the lead hold up even though his team was outshot 10-3 in the first period.
Seattle tied the score 8:55 into the second when Pats defenseman Josh Mahura was tripped up in the neutral zone, creating a 2-on-1 for the T-birds.
Sami Moilanen walked in and beat Brown low to the blocker side.
Seattle was outshooting Regina 20-8 at that point.
But the Pats led 3-1 in the third period before a surge by the T-birds.
Ryan Gropp scored with 5:22 left in regulation and Keegan Kolesar blasted a one-timer that found the net with 2:54 left in the third.
In the Memorial Cup, Seattle joins the Ontario Hockey League champion Erie Otters, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs, and the host Windsor Spitfires.
The competition begins Friday.