Despite giving it their all, the Winnipeg Ice couldn't gain enough traction to battle back against the Seattle Thunderbirds, but fans are still hopeful for a comeback.
Carson Latimer opened the scoring 16:25 into the first period, but Kevin Korchinski from the Thunderbirds tied the game 1-1 there minutes later.
Seattle scored again at the beginning of the second by Gracyn Sawchyn on a power play. Then, local player, Evan Friesen evened out the score.
Moments later, the Ice nearly made it a 3-2 game. A scramble atop the crease saw a point-blank opportunity land on the stick of Conor Geekie who wasted no time sending a shot in on the net. But, despite being seemingly down and out, Milic kicked out the left toe and managed to get a piece of the puck, just enough to redirect it over the gaping cage with 7:13 to go in the second period.
It was during the third period when the Ice couldn't find the back of the net, and Dylan Guenther, with a go-ahead goal and Nico Myatovic from Seattle guaranteed the win 4-2.
"A bit of a heartbreaking loss," says James Patrick, Head Coach of the Ice. "We played more like we have to play. The game was there. We had chances when it was 2-2, even when they went ahead we had chances and we weren’t able to get the go-ahead [goal] or [game-tying goal]. We have to focus on the process. We can’t think about the what-ifs. We just have to focus on playing the game the right way. We cleaned up a lot of our game from [Game 3]. There are still some little areas that need improvement. We’ll focus on playing the best game possible and we’ll worry about the result when it’s all said and done."
Thomas Milic was once again key to victory for Seattle, earning second-star honours and turning aside 31 of 33 shots sent his way to earn his 15th win of the 2023 WHL Playoffs. At the other end, Daniel Hauser was also outstanding, named the third star of the game thanks to 33 stops on 36 shots.
"A go-ahead goal in the third period, that was a huge goal for us," says Matt O’Dette, Head Coach of the Thunderbirds. "Our bench was pretty fired up after that. I thought our play in the third was pretty stable the rest of the way. But that was a monster goal. That was a very hard-fought game. Tight-checking, close game, not a lot of margin for error. I’m happy with the way our team finished the game. We had a good third period, we needed it. We buckled down and found a way to win the game."
Fans continue to support the locally-based hockey team, cheering them on in the comments of the team's Facebook posts.