A sold-out crowd will be on hand at the ShoWare Center in Kent when the Thunderbirds are home for Game 3 against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Brandon leads the best-of-seven series 2-0.
KENT – The Seattle Thunderbirds are in need of a little hometown magic after dropping the first two games of the Western Hockey League championship series, both 3-2 in overtime, to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
A sold-out crowd will be on hand at the ShoWare Center when the Thunderbirds are home for Game 3 on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
In two eerily similar games, Seattle led 2-1 in the third period twice — only to see Brandon come back to tie the score and then win in the first overtime period.
Brandon Wheat Kings vs. Seattle Thunderbirds
Game 1: Brandon 3-2 (OT)Game 2: Brandon 3-2 (OT)
Game 3: Tuesday, Brandon at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4: Wednesday, Brandon at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5: Friday, Brandon at Seattle, 7:35 p.m.*
Game 6: May 15, Seattle at Brandon, 5 p.m.*
Game 7: May 16, Seattle at Brandon, 5 p.m.*
* if necessary
“We just made too many key mistakes and were not able to close out the games,” Thunderbirds coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “It’s tough not to come away with one of them, but that’s overtime hockey. You’re one shot away from a big reward. We’ve won our share of overtime games. We just need to move forward.”
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With the travel involved, the best-of-seven series is 2-3-2 so the T-birds will be home for the next three games unless they are swept.
“We’re expecting good crowds all week, so if we come out and play our game, maybe the home crowd can give us a little extra juice to put us over the top,” Konowalchuk said.
Seattle had the best home record in the WHL during the regular season, going 29-5-2. In the playoffs, the T-birds are 6-1 at home.
“I think everybody is in a pretty good place coming home after two really close, back-and-forth games,” Konowalchuk said. “We’re a shot away from being up two to nothing and that’s the way we have to approach it. We just have to make sure we are playing our best every shift.”
Konowalchuk didn’t expect either team to make many changes heading into Game 3.
“We just have to get a little better, another 5 percent,” Konowalchuk said. “Our top guys are playing OK, but they’re capable of doing more, being more of a difference maker. We know that if we can get one win, we’re right back in the series.”
Game 4 is in Kent on Wednesday with Game 5, if necessary, in Kent on Friday.