WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS
Game 3: (1) Tri-City Americans 3 @ (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 2
Tri-City leads Best of 7 series 2-1
G Riku Helenius , SEA:
Game: Loss, 42 saves on 45 shots
Playoffs: 9 GP, 4-4-1, 2.70 GAA, .911 sv%
The Seattle Thunderbirds were defeated by the Tri-City Americans Tuesday night by a score of 3-2 before 3,052 fans in a game of "I'd like to have that one back." Riku Helenius, who played a tremendous game for the T-Birds, did have one trickle into the net for a goal that I am sure he would like back. There were several key elements that were the difference in this one. The second period seemed to be played in the Seattle zone even though the 'Birds mustered 8 shots. There was a penalty taken by a player who was appearing in his first game as a 'Bird and unfortunately the Americans took advantage of that power play as well as another to go 2/5 with the extra man. The T-Birds did not capitalize on a 5 on 3 advantage and they were 0/9 on the power play. On a good note, Helenius was very good tonight and gave the team a chance to win. One would have to wonder though if he will start for the T-Birds Wednesday night after facing so much rubber. Back up Jacob DeSerres is a very promising goaltender who is ready to play.
One important note to Tampa Officials:
The only player who had a better game than Riku Helenius was Seattle Center Jim Oâ€™Brien, who is an Ottawa first round draft pick (2007). This guy scored two goals, one being a lightning quick wrister into the top corner and the other a nice backhander. Moreover he was 11 for 11 on face offs and is a powerful skater. This guy would look VERY good in the Tampa organization and would be worth entertaining trade talks with Ottawa for him now before he gets even better.
O'Brien made a name for himself earlier this year by leaving the University of Minnesota, where he had to sign with the Senators and join the Thunderbirds. Minnesota was going to move him from forward to defense this season had he stayed. He had seven goals and 15 points for the Gophers in limited time as a freshman.
*Chad contributed to this report.