With four straight wins, the Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds clinched a Western Hockey League playoff berth.
Seattle entered fourth place in the Western Conference this week with a 34-14-4-1 record for 73 points. The Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers were tied for first with 80 points, followed by the Portland Winterhawks with 77 points.
The Kelowna Rockets, just one point behind the T-Birds, also clinched a playoff berth. Seattle still has a month left in the regular season with its final game on April 15 before the playoffs begin.
Nico Myatovic and Jared Davidson each scored twice to lead Seattle over the Tri-City Americans 6-2 on Sunday March 6 for its fourth straight win. The T-Birds also beat Kelowna 4-3 on March 1, Tri-City 3-1 on March 4 and Everett 4-3 on March 5.
“We’ll take it every time,” T-Birds coach Matt O’Dette said of getting six points over the weekend with three wins, according to a game report by Thom Beuning on seattlethunderbirds .com. “Thank you guys for working hard all weekend. Lots of good habits all weekend and into the next.
The T-Birds host Portland at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, March 11 at the accesso ShoWare Center. They are also at home at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 against Everett and at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15 against Tri-City.
Davidson has 27 goals to lead the T-Birds this season. He also has 40 assists to give him 67 points for the season, tied for 10th in the league, as of March 6.
“He’s playing really well for us,” O’Dette said.
Davidson, 19, of Edmonton, Alta., signed with the T-Birds in 2018 after an invitation to camp. No WHL team drafted Davidson in the 2017 bantam draft. He played in the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League in 2017-18 and caught the eye of the T-Birds and Silvertips.
Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic is 22-12-2-1 with a 2.47 goals-against average. Scott Ratzlaff, the T-Birds backup goaltender, is 12-2-1-0 with a 2.51 goals-against average.
Attendance at T-Birds games continues to be well below previous seasons at the city-owned ShoWare Center in Kent. Sunday’s game against Tri-City drew 3,170 fans.
Portland and Everett come to town this weekend and usually draw the biggest crowds. A Dec. 17 game against Everett drew 4,535 spectators, the highest attendance so far this season.
During the 2019-20 season, Seattle often drew crowds of over 5,000 and a few times over 6,000 to the 6,200-seat arena. The WHL canceled this season in mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19.
T-Birds president Colin Campbell blamed the small crowds at the start of this season on a lack of group sales and King County vaccination requirements. He said subscription sales were down about 15% to 20%.
King County removed proof of vaccination or negative test requirements on March 1. Wearing a face mask is still required until Friday, March 11.
Campbell said attendance often spikes later in the season and during the playoffs, meaning he’ll be watching the numbers closely this weekend with rivals Portland and Everett in town, and over the next two months. based on Seattle’s progress in the playoffs. .
This also marks the first season the T-Birds have had to face the Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s first team that played at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena and nearly all of its games are televised.
The T-Birds took on Everett in a Feb. 26 WHL game at Climate Pledge Arena that drew 8,381 fans.
Everett drew large crowds to the Angel of the Winds Arena, including 7,474 in their March 5 loss to the T-Birds and 5,573 when the Silvertips beat Seattle on January 30.
Ticket prices for T-Birds games at ShoWare Center range from $20 to $48. Buy your tickets at seattlethunderbirds.com.