Monday, May 15, 2017

Seattle clinches Memorial Cup berth

The 2017 Memorial Cup field is set.

The Seattle Thunderbirds became the fourth and final team to clinch their spot, winning the Western Hockey League championship with a 4-3 overtime win over the Regina Pats on Sunday night. The Thunderbirds won the series in six games.

Here's the goal, which came from Alexander True at 12:36 of overtime.
It's the first WHL title for the Thunderbirds. They'll now join the Windsor Spitfires (host), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL champion) and Erie Otters (OHL champion) at this year's Memorial Cup tournament in Windsor.

Seattle finished the regular season fourth overall in the WHL standings with a record of 46-20-4-2 for 98 points. They were not included in the final CHL Top 10 ranking.

Seattle swept their first two playoff series before beating the Kelowna Rockets in six games in the conference final. They then defeated the Pats, the No. 1 ranked team in the CHL for much of the regular season, in six games to win the WHL title.

The most notable player on Seattle's roster is Matthew Barzal, the New York Islanders prospect who played with Team Canada at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships. Barzal was named the WHL's playoff MVP with seven goals and 18 assists in 16 games.

The Thunderbirds' victory means there will be two American teams in the Memorial Cup tournament for the first time since 2007 when Lewiston (RIP) and Plymouth (RIP) were involved. Ironically, this year's tournament will take place a short drive from the US (Detroit) border.

The Memorial Cup begins on Friday with the host the Spitfires taking on the Sea Dogs. The Thunderbirds will face the Otters the following day.

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