Kyle Crnkovic scored his tournament-leading fifth goal and added an assist as the Seattle Thunderbirds topped the Peterborough Petes 4-1 on Friday in Kamloops, B.C. to book their ticket to their first Memorial Cup final in franchise history.
Brad Lambert, Colton Dach and Nico Myatovic had the other goals for Seattle, which got 27 saves from Thomas Milic.
Brennan Othmann replied for Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough. Michael Simpson made 43 saves.
The Western Hockey League champion Thunderbirds will next face the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts in Sunday’s final.
Thank you Peterborough ❤️ pic.twitter.com/eAptsQNUKO
— Peterborough Petes (@PetesOHLhockey) June 3, 2023
Quebec earned a final berth after opening the tournament with consecutive wins in the round-robin stage over the host Kamloops Blazers who — were eliminated in Thursday’s tiebreaker by Peterborough — and Seattle.
The Thunderbirds got into the semifinal after defeating Kamloops 6-1 on Wednesday.
After dropping their first two games — including a 6-3 loss to Seattle last Saturday — the Petes staved off elimination and forced the tiebreaker game with a 4-2 win over the Remparts on Tuesday.
Near the midway mark of the opening period, Thunderbirds forward Jared Davidson took a hard shot from behind into the end boards from Petes’ defenceman Cam Gauvreau.
Gauvreau and Thunderbirds blueliner Nolan Allan dropped the gloves but were stopped from fighting by officials. Gauvreau was given a two-minute penalty for a check from behind and another for unsportsmanlike conduct, while Allan was handed two minutes for the latter.
Dylan Guenther was stopped on a shot from the slot during the power play, one of several missed scoring chances for Seattle, which outshot Peterborough 14-5 in the scoreless frame.
Connor Lockhart had the best scoring chance for the Petes, firing a shot from the left faceoff circle and ringing the crossbar with just over three minutes left in the first.
Peterborough forward Avery Hayes was slow to get up after taking an elbow to the face from teammate Tucker Robertson late in the frame. Both tried to check Thunderbirds defenceman Luke Prokop by the end boards in Seattle’s zone.
Hayes returned to the game for the start of the second period.
Simpson _ coming off a 43-save performance in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime win _ became an even brighter spot for Peterborough for much of the middle frame as Seattle continued to press.
Simpson stoned Lucas Ciona and Davidson, among others, as Seattle had several great chances from the slot.
Lambert finally broke through for Seattle with 4:28 left in the second. He sent a backhand shot off a rebound that trickled through Simpson’s legs for his first of the tournament.
Dach added to the Thunderbirds’ lead 1:28 into the third period after a pass from Crnkovic.
Othmann put the Petes on the board just 1:13 later. Owen Beck sent the puck to Othmann with a turnaround pass and he beat Milic for his second.
Crnkovic – who had a hat trick in the teams’ previous game – made it a two-goal lead at 9:33 after a scramble in front following a stop on a tipped shot.
Myatovic scored an empty-netter with 2:09 remaining after taking a cross-ice pass from Reid Schaefer just outside of Peterborough’s zone.
An incredible @PetesOHLhockey run ends in the #MemorialCup semi-final.
Plenty to be proud of for the #OHL champions 👏
STATS 📊: https://t.co/aOBG8WSrvv pic.twitter.com/YD5a70EvTp
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) June 3, 2023
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