NHL News

WHL’s Thunderbirds roll into Memorial Cup semi

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson scored in an eight-second span in the second period and the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the host Kamloops Blazers 6-1 on Wednesday night to advance to the Memorial Cup semifinal.

The Western Hockey League champion Thunderbirds finished round-robin play 2-1, rebounding from a 3-1 loss to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts (2-1) on Monday night.

Kamloops (1-2) and the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes (1-2) will meet Thursday night, with the winner advancing to face Seattle in the semifinal game Friday night. The semifinal winner will play Quebec for the title Sunday, with Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy stepping aside as the coach of the Remparts after the tournament.

Davidson made it 2-1 on a power player at 6:39 of the second period, slipping a long wrist shot inside the far post. Gustafson quickly doubled the advantage after a Kamloops giveaway behind the net.

Kyle Crnkovic, Luke Prokop and Colton Dach scored in the third period. Crnkovic, Davidson, Dylan Guenther and Reid Schaefer each had two assists.

Lucas Ciona opened the scoring for Seattle early in the first. Ryan Hofer tied it midway through the period.

Thomas Milic made 30 saves for the Thunderbirds.

Seattle is trying to become the third U.S.-based franchise to win the event that was first played in 1919, following the WHL rival Portland Winterhawks (1983, 1998) and Spokane Chiefs (1998, 2008).

Also Quebec’s general manager, Roy is seeking his second Memorial Cup after leading the Remparts to the 2006 title in Moncton, New Brunswick. He’s turning over the coaching duties to fellow former NHL player Simon Gagne.

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