Seattle Kraken, Seattle Thunderbirds

Kraken Daily: T-Birds Pour It On, Firebirds Finally

While the Seattle Kraken’s top farm team gets set to play again in the Calder Cup playoffs after a two day break, the Seattle Thunderbirds jumped into the Memorial Cup semi-final with a convincing 6-1 win over the host Kamloops Blazers.

Seattle Semi

Kyle Crnkovic and Jared Davidson both tallied a goal and an assist as the Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds scored five unanswered goals to whip the Blazers on Wednesday in the final round robin game of the tournament.

The T-Birds finished with a 2-and-1 record and put themselves in Friday’s semi-final against the winner of Thursday’s tie-breaker match between the Blazers and the Peterborough Petes, champions of the Ontario Hockey League. Both of those clubs went 1-and-2 and must go at it head-to-head today to earn the right to take on Seattle.

Meanwhile, the QMJHL champions, the Quebec Remparts, get to rest and wait for Sunday’s final. They’re in after finishing the preliminaries 2-and-1 and beating the Thunderbirds, the other 2-and-1 team, head-to-head. Seattle actually had the better overall goal differential through three games played, but lost their game against Quebec on Monday 3-1.

Seattle’s game with Kamloops stood tied 1-1 after one period, but the T-Birds took advantage of a huge turning point in the second period. That’s when Davidson and Jordan Gustafson scored eight seconds apart to give Seattle a 3-1 lead at the 6:57 mark, the first tally coming on the power play, the second one at even strength.

Crnkovic, defenseman Luke Prokop (pictured) and Colton Dach scored goals in the 3rd period as Seattle ran away with it, setting up their spot in Friday evening’s semi-final at 7 pm pacific.

Kraken Farm Team

It only seems like forever. The Coachella Valley Firebirds fell to the Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 on Monday night, which narrowed the Kraken farm team’s lead in the Calder Cup western conference final to 2-games-to-1. After a two day wait in Milwaukee, the two clubs will get back at it Thursday night with the Firebirds looking to put a stranglehold on the series.

Coachella Valley will have plenty of healthy line-up options, particularly with the return of burly forward John Hayden off injury. Head coach Dan Bylsma will look for the right chemistry combo as he combs through a talented forward roster. Top Kraken prospect Shane Wright, who scored the opening goal of Game-3, has been a healthy scratch in these playoffs at times as the Firebirds look to win with a more veteran line-up when necessary.

One other youngster who’s made a big impression is 21-year-old defenseman Ryker Evans. The lefty Calgary native has 15 postseason points and is tied for second in overall Calder Cup scoring with teammate Cameron Hughes. Firebirds captain Max McCormick and 24-year-old winger Kole Lind lead the playoffs with 19 points each.

The goaltending match-up for Game-4 will be interesting, mainly because the Admirals swapped out goalies before their Game-3 win. Milwaukee head coach Karl Taylor replaced regular starter Yaro Askarov with Devin Cooley who stopped 28 of 29 shots. He’ll likely get the nod against Joey Daccord at the other end, the Firebirds back-stop with a 2.31 goals against average and a .932 save percentage in 16 postseason games.

Daccord appeared in five games this past season for the Kraken, starting four of them, and finished with a record of 2-1-and-1.

Sledge Follow

The two most accomplished para-hockey nations got together at the World Championships in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on Wednesday and Team USA shut-out the hosts 3-0 in a preliminary round game. The Americans outshot the Canadians 22-8 and picked up goals from Brody Roybal, Jack Wallace and an empty-netter from Travis Dodson to win it.


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Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.